Ready, Reset, Go

By Tara Murtha
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 18 | Posted Oct. 5, 2010

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“I told [the label] I was ready to leave,” she says. “At that point so much time went by. Everybody was saying, ‘I love your first album! Where’s your second album?’ I got sick of hearing that.”

After hemming and hawing, the label released Res—but not the record.

“[The label execs] said, ‘You left the label but you [can’t] take your music with you,’” she says. Other labels were interested in picking it up, but it was too expensive.

“In the day and age I made albums, studios cost thousands a week on top of musicians and my living expenses. All that gets thrown in. So when my career at Geffen was over, they added up the bill,” she says. Res estimates that she was into Geffen for more than a million dollars.

“That’s like Joni Mitchell numbers, not Res who sold 300,000 copies. It all goes back to a numbers game.”

Suddenly, Res was on her own. Reality set in. Without label support, it was tough to pay a full band for smaller gigs. Without a budget, it’s tough to do most anything. The woman who once dreamed of being a money-market manager wasn’t happy focusing on the bottom line all the time.

“It was about being the business woman, organizing everything and booking,” she says. “It became not fun.”

Then salvation came in the name Gnarls Barkley. St. Elsewhere had just dropped and “Crazy” was ubiquitous. Cee Lo and his people invited Res to tour the world with them singing background vocals.

“I wasn’t sure I wanted to do it,” says Res. “But then I thought, ‘I love to sing. Why am I hesitating?”

Now she calls it divine intervention.

“It was one of the best things I ever did. Now I look at everything else that way. Nothing is beneath me,” she says. “Why do I care what other people would think? I can sing in a wedding band and it wouldn’t bother me … when you strip all the go out of it, when you get to the essence of it, I like to sing. That’s what makes me happy.”

Eventually, the “lost album” got to fans.

“I had all the music in my computer … instead of selling it—because technically I don’t own it—I pressed up 1,000 copies. Then I sold posters online and gave the music away for free,” she says. “So I’m not selling it. I’m giving it away.”

There’s no calling it neo-soul. She titled it Black.Girls.Rock!

It’s a more straightforward record; the songs weren’t buffed till they were slick and glossy.

“With How I Do, we were trying to impress everybody. With Black.Girls.Rock! I was trying to impress myself,” she says.

Instead of making a big splash, the little renegade sophomore album that could slipped quietly into the blogosphere stream, finding its way into the hands of fans who knew to look. Disillusioned, Res was considering packing it in and establishing a new musical home in affordable old Philly. Then her father died of a heart attack in January of 2008. It was a huge blow to the tight-knit family.

Res thought, “Why am I in L.A. living by myself? How am I mourning my father’s death if I’m living in L.A. being a rock star?”

Also, her sister and brother each had a baby three months apart.

“I don’t want to be that aunt that [my sibling’s] kids don’t know, and know me only as a picture, like ‘That’s your aunt who sings and lives in L.A.’,” she says.

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Comments 1 - 18 of 18
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1. Anonymous said... on Oct 6, 2010 at 06:26AM

“Thank you! Great Article on Indie Artist -Res ! I love the Philly music scene but it seems like the RB aspect gets all the love thanks for showing that Black.Girls.Rock!
Cant wait to check out Res at Silk City”

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2. Anonymous said... on Oct 6, 2010 at 06:55AM

“I've been listening to her for years, and I love her sound and style. It's good to see her getting some love around here.”

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3. tayyib said... on Oct 6, 2010 at 08:00AM

Go! Boo!”

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4. Drumaddict said... on Oct 6, 2010 at 08:27AM

“I personally got to work hang and tour w Resee in her LA beach days and just last week on my NY visit I saw her throw down in Brooklyn plus a couple months back at the temple bar. One artist /friend where I always bring atleast 5 cats w me. By the end of the night they buy her album and I say "I told you so" ;) and I will support my DIY girl always. This article is amazing - well deserved and Reset is going to be off the hook! I'm so very proud of u. Props to the Writer Tara M. foo ;)”

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5. shellyshell said... on Oct 6, 2010 at 10:56AM

“I have been a Fan of Res for a while, loved her first album, look foward to her new album . Hope Philly Weekly will keep her fans info about her shows in philly, will be check her out at silk city on sunday”

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6. HOUSE OF VIBE said... on Oct 6, 2010 at 12:43PM


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7. Anonymous said... on Oct 6, 2010 at 01:32PM

“awesome article. dope artist. glad to see indie folks who are doing it the unconventional way getting shine. i'll definitely be at RESET on sunday and you should too.”

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8. Preach Jacobs said... on Oct 6, 2010 at 02:15PM

“great article about a great artist. i look forward to her being back on a major getting the massive attention she so clearly deserves.”

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9. Tasha from LA said... on Oct 6, 2010 at 03:28PM

“Love Res glad to see she is moving around out there ..... I still rock How I Do everyday ..... and BLACK.GIRLS.ROCK! her 2nd album makes me smile ..... Idle Warship keeps me grooving ..... Hey Res you need any help I will do it for FREE to see you get what you deserve .... A true artist !!!!!!!! Glad to hear you went home to create ... I know it will be dope ..... Keep us posted!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

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10. Rah M. Sungee said... on Oct 6, 2010 at 04:56PM

“great article, hard struggles and hard work will only yield great success in the future. the universe is based on balance! keep the music coming.”

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11. Michael Bell Sr. said... on Oct 6, 2010 at 05:29PM

“Great article,It made her real. I say that because she never has gotten the publicity she rightfully deserves. You know, enough so that you could feel her,connect. I first saw her years ago on the HBO show Reverb along with Craig David and Sunshine Anderson. She was a breath of fresh air because she had found and was in her own lane. I appreciated her creativity, her strength as an artist and naturally as a person which she has proven by being able to weather the storm. I must admit, I was a bit concerned about her at one point in her career. I thought she was about to walk away from what she had already accomplish but, she didn't. Now that I have read this article, I now know that needn't be a concern any more.
I love her and I'm very proud of her for getting back to the reason she sings.
Thank you for such an insightful article”

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12. Taj said... on Oct 6, 2010 at 10:06PM

“I can't wait to see where her grind will take her, and I`ll definitely be following along the way. Don`t leave us hanging, PW - I want to hear more!”

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13. Cooke said... on Oct 7, 2010 at 12:04PM

“Great article tara - feel like I know the artist thru your writing. Really shows be thankful what you have at the time. I wish her success!”

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14. Priceless Hustle said... on Oct 7, 2010 at 06:22PM

“great article about a great artist. and she's looking beautiful as usual...cant wait until RESet...hope to see her featured more in the future...RES, keep doin ya thing..for us!”

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15. Jay said... on Oct 13, 2010 at 04:54PM

“Loved Black.Girls.Rock and it was pretty sweet to buy the CD directly from the artist. Had a fab time at her Atlanta gig just wish it had been longer!”

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16. akandabody said... on Oct 15, 2010 at 12:18AM

“I'm so happy to hear that Res is taking charge "making herself comeback", as supposed to "making a comeback", if you will. Not only do i enjoy your music, but i appreciate how you are showing other young African American girls that by being determined and taking initiative you can do and be whatever you want in this world. Of course I have to close by saying Black. Girls. Rock. What u didn't know!!!”

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17. Anonymous said... on Oct 19, 2010 at 06:11AM

“I've loved Res' work from the beginning. I'm already on my second Black.Girls.Rock cd because I scratched the first one from listening to it so much. I saw her at SouthPaw in Brooklyn last year, and at Blue Note the year before. If I wasn't living in NY I'd be at Rest every week. She is a great artist you is incredibly underrated. Show your support, buy her records and t-shirts on her website and go see her weekly shows.”

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18. Anonymous said... on Dec 9, 2010 at 10:14AM

“Res is going to be at Whole Foods Market in Jenkintown this Friday, December 10th from 7-8:30pm for a CD Release Party. Come meet Res, see a live performance, and enjoy wine and cheese. CDs on sale now and at the door! For more info visit or call 215-481-0800”


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