Premiere: Josh Dean's "Funny Valentine" And Debut EP Is The Vocal Hug We Needed

There's more than a few powerful nayhoos behind Josh Dean. The singer-songwriter has a vibrancy about him that instantaneously puts anyone that is touched by him in a good mood. It's what pulled him into Janelle Monae's Wondaland orbit and a spot on Hitco's roster. It's also what makes his latest single, "Funny Valentine" so lovable.

The visuals for "Funny Valentine" are just as nostalgic as his interpolation (Sixpence None The Richer). Shot in black and white, Dean is all alone as he sings about the wonders of a cautious love. It's almost insane to think Dean's strong vocals weren't heard until he accidentally left his vocals on an early recording of Jidenna's "Classic Man."

Dean, who was interning for Monae's Wonderland as a graphic designer, was given a slot on the label's roster as well as an opportunity to record his debut EP Dear BlackSheepe. Some might call it fate or mere coincidence but for Dean, this feels like destiny.

"When I first got to Wondaland as an intern, I was having a conversation with Mikael [Janelle’s manager] he was like, 'People change once they get fame or famous.'" he tells VIBE. "I never want to change. I do want to be smarter, more of a seasoned singer, I want my connection with people to be stronger now than it is. In terms of who I am and the things that have shaped me, my foundation, I don’t want those things to change. I’m happy to be where I’m from, I’m happy to have been raised on a farm, I don’t think I would be the same person without it. I don’t want to step into this next phase of my life and feel like I couldn’t be myself."

The Alabama native is a clear student of music. Thanks to his grandmother, Dean started at an early age. He was taught the importance of melodies in the church and continued to explore music in school. But shortly after his mother's death, Dean moved to Florida with his father where he enjoyed the thrills of graphic design. That passion would lead him to attend Morehouse College in Atlanta to study Marketing and Computer Science. The power of graphic design also led him to an internship at Doppler Studios for Grammy-Award winning producer and songwriter, Bryan Michael Cox.

“I went one day and I sat in on this session they were working on, and I was amused by everything that I saw,” he said. By the end of the internship, Dean's passions began to intertwine. “It reignited my pursuit of music again, it gave me more of a reason and hunger to not only be in [that environment] but I was sharing my gift at the time in order to be there.”

Dear BlackSheepe showcases this with an appreciation for pop-R&B and funk sounds, specifically on fan-favorite track "DropDead." Like his influences (Prince, Michael Jackson) the singer has found a way to use upbeat grooves to heal painful memories.

"'DropDead' came from a sad place," he said. "My uncle passed away before I recorded that song. I was afraid because the song doesn’t necessarily sound like that. [My family] all thought he was doing really great, but what we didn’t know and what he didn’t tell us, was [that he] was suffering from an illness. And one day he literally drops dead and my whole family was shocked by it."

It's hard to ignore the Jackson influence but it's also easy to see Dean's vision. The singer isn't trying to emulate anyone other than himself.

"For so long in my life, I shied away from really just singing or having this connection with myself," Dead admitted. "When I got to Wondaland I wanted to step outside of that box. The whole idea of Dear BlackSheepe is that. It's a journey piece for me. Dear BlackSheepe is like, ‘Yeah we’re all different but we’re all alike and there are these things inside of us.'"

With his talents blending, he's keen on how his music videos like "Funny Valentine" and "DropDead" will be perceived. Artsy but not overly provocative, his visuals prove just how much Dean is aware of his artistry.

"The video shoot for "DropDead" was also a release for me too because I had never performed like that," he said. "I do it in front of my mirror all the time but it’s different once you’re performing in front of a camera. I learned so much that day about myself, about what I want to see on future sets of my music videos."

It may be early in his career, but Dean is checking off many moments off his bucket list. This includes opening up for boss lady Janelle Monae later this month in New York.

"I’m just really grateful because I think back to four or five years ago, I was sleeping on Janelle’s couch in her studio," he said.  "When I stepped through the doors of Wondaland, I had no idea that five years from now I would be opening up for her. It’s amazing to see how so much growth has happened in that bit of time. It all went by so fast, time flew by. She’s my big sister and I’ve learned so much from her style of performance [just by] sitting on the side of the stage. I’m really excited to take a lot of what I’ve learned and put it on the big stage. This will be one of my biggest shows to date. I’m excited. I’m looking forward to it. I’m a little nervous, but the nervousness I think is a good thing."

Josh Dean is still evolving, he’s still growing. He's also a gem that can shine in today R&B space.

Stream DearBlackSheepe here.

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Instagram Restricts Promotion Of Body Enhancing Products From Users Under 18

Instagram is putting a limit on the amount of body enhancing products exposed to users under 18.

According to Buzzfeed News, the platform will restrict promotional posts that center around cosmetic surgery and weight loss products for minors. The monumental move was partly inspired by actress and body activist Jameela Jamil who previously called out celebrities like Cardi B and the Kardashian family who promote products like diet detox teas to their very young fans.

"We want Instagram to be a positive place for everyone that uses it and this policy is part of our ongoing work to reduce the pressure that people can sometimes feel as a result of social media," Instagram's public policy manager, Emma Collins said. She also noted that changes will also take place on Facebook.

Wow that was fast. This Kim Kardashian flat tummy shake post from January is now only accessible if you're logged into Instagram and listed as over-18. pic.twitter.com/67rEv4uqpJ

— Ryan Broderick (@broderick) September 18, 2019

Rumors have circulated around updates for some time. Others included the elimination of Instagram's "likes" algorithm.

Users will also have the ability to report any posts that do not follow the latest guidelines, as reported by CBS News. 

In a world that is heavily influenced by social media posts, this looks to be a step in the right direction for body positivity and acceptance. For her influence in the decision, Jamil stated "Facebook and Instagram [are] taking a stand to protect the physical and mental health of people online, sends an important message out to the world.

 

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THIS IS HUGE NEWS. @i_weigh are changing the world together. After a bunch of shouting, screaming, and petitioning... we have managed to get the attention of the people at the top, and they have heard us and want to protect us. And this is just the beginning of our efforts. As of now, if you’re under 18, you will no longer be exposed to any diet/detox products, and for all other ages; all fad products that have bogus, unrealistic claims will be taken down and easy to report. I’ve been working with Instagram all year towards this, who were amazing to deal with, and they expressed that they passionately care about creating a safer space for us all online. This happened so much faster than I expected and I’m so proud and happy and relieved. WELL DONE to the many people who have been working towards this huge change. This is a mass effort. This is an extraordinary win that is going to make a big difference. Influencers have to be more responsible. ❤️

A post shared by Jameela Jamil (@jameelajamilofficial) on Sep 18, 2019 at 10:08am PDT

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Dennis Rodman Claims Madonna Offered Him $20 Million To Get Her Pregnant

In an interview with "The Breakfast Club" on Thursday (Sept. 19), former NBA player Dennis Rodman opened up about his mid-90s relationship with pop star Madonna.

Rodman's comments about his and the "Material Girl" artist's intimate relationship dropped the radio hosts' jaws when he discussed how much she was willing to pay him to get pregnant. "She asked that if I got her pregnant she'd pay me $20 million," he said.

The former Chicago Bull reflected on a night in Las Vegas while he was gambling. He received a call from his then love interest which led Madonna to charter a plane for him where he flew to spend a romantic five hours with the award-winning singer in New York.

"They say you broke up with Madonna [because] you didn't want to get her pregnant," Charlamagne said. "Oh, I tried," Rodman answered.

Briefly dating in the mid-90s, the couple was in the spotlight both off the court and off the stage. They also shot a VIBE Magazine cover for the June 1994 issue but it was never published due to conflict behind-the-scenes.

 

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At long last, the @madonna @dennisrodman VIBE magazine cover that never ran and cost me my job 25 years ago. Inspired to post by Dan Charnas’ oral history of @vibemagazine in @billboard (link in bio) which tells just a wee smidge of the whole sordid tale, the rest of which I’m saving for my memoir, “Ladies’ Man.” (Also inspired by a nudge from @erikmaza!)

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Watch the full video below or the 11:30 mark where Rodman reveals the news.

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Colin Kaepernick's 'Dream Crazy' Nike Commercial Snags Creative Emmy Award

Despite Colin Kaepernick's controversial time in the press, the former NFL player has come out on top with a triumphant win.

TMZ reports Kap's Nike "Dream Crazy" commercial was awarded Best Commercial beating out visuals from Apple and Netflix at the 2019 Creative Arts Emmy Awards in Los Angeles.

"Don't picture yourself wearing [Odell Beckham's] jersey. Picture OBJ wearing yours," the activist said. "And, if you're a girl from Compton, don't just become a tennis player, become the greatest athlete ever. Yeah, that's more like it."

Kaepernick's inspirational ad beat out "Behind the Mac- Make Something Wonderful"- Macbook, "A Great Day in Hollywood" -Netflix, "Point of View" -Sandy Hook Promise, and "Shot on iPhone XS- Don't Mess With Mother" -iPhone.

Serena Williams and LeBron James stand alongside the 31-year-old during the two minutes and twenty-two-second commercial. The clip also inspires not only athletes but anyone who thinks they can't "Just Do It."

CNN reports the visual was released in September 2018, days before the football season began. Nike selected Kaep as the face for their 30th anniversary "Just Do It" campaign.

He has yet to speak out on his Emmy accomplishment.

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