Keyon Harrold Premieres “Stay This Way,” Feat. Bilal Oliver & Big K.R.I.T.
Grammy-winning jazz trumpeter Keyon Harrold has worked with the likes of Maxwell, Common, Beyoncé, JAY-Z, Rihanna and Eminem, but on September 29, he breaks out on his own with The Mugician. Today, we have the exclusive premiere of the track “Stay This Way.”
“Featuring Bilal Oliver and Big K.R.I.T., this record is the peak of a love story right before it falls off and becomes another broken heart,” Harrold tells TIDAL. “This is the moment when love is perfect. There is the recognition by the singer and rapper from what isn’t said that they fear this is the pinnacle. After this, the love will deteriorate, but they try to relish and bask in the perfection of now.”
Hailing from Ferguson, Missouri, Harrold incorporates into his record the tensions that split his hometown following the death of Michael Brown at the hands of the police. It features the talents of Gary Clark Jr., Big K.R.I.T., Bilal, Pharoahe Monch and Robert Glasper.
Below, Harrold talks more about his record, his inspirations and his instrument via his guest-curated exclusive playlist.
JAY-Z, “Roc Boys (And The Winner Is)…”
“Roc Boys” is the epitome of the horn anthem. When I think of epic horns, this one comes up front and center in my mind. This song rocks in the club and is a jam from beginning to end. And I’m not just saying that just because I play trumpet on it.
Maxwell, “Pretty Wings”
Lyrically, “Pretty Wings” is a beautiful tragedy; the horns fill in the blanks where Maxwell’s lyrics end. The horn arrangement is a jazz-influenced, compassionate complement to the voice. It was one of the first things that I recorded with Maxwell. Shoutout to saxophonist Kenneth Whalum and trombonist Saunders Sermons who also played horns on this Grammy Award-winning record from BLACKsummers’night.
Earth, Wind & Fire, ”Fantasy”
As a trumpet player, there are a few songs that can make you or break you. Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Fantasy” is at the top of that list. The Phoenix Horns spit fire all throughout this track. I feel like a superhero when I bump into this song when I’m driving.
D’Angelo, “Spanish Joint”
“Spanish Joint” is one of my favorite cuts by D’Angelo. The horns are ‘swagtastically’ arranged by Roy Hargrove. Aggressively warm, harmonically fresh horn lines help to drive this groove.
Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk”
“Uptown Funk” is the jam, blaring horns that hit you in the chest. The hypnotic horns are the driving force behind Bruno. If someone can’t dance to those vibes, they do not have a single groove gene inside of them.
Stevie Wonder, “Sir Duke”
“Sir Duke” is a classic record for which the horn lines are extremely soulfully composed. I don’t think this song would be as famous if it were not for this hooky horn melody that most people can’t help but sing. The horn riffs stand equally as strong as Stevie Wonder’s lyrics.
Beyoncé, “Crazy in Love”
Everybody knows what time it is when “Crazy in Love” comes on. Ladies hit the floor, and the energy in the room is electric. The catchy riff is mean and classic.
Mac Miller, “Stay”
This song was so much fun to collaborate on with lyricist and producer Mac Miller. My horn lines interact with Mac’s flow. The melodies that were created are beautifully dense and literally make you move. This is ‘jazz meets hip-hop.’ This is Mac Miller meets Keyon Harrold.
‘Doo du du du, du du du du du, doo du du du, du du du du du…….’ is what I think of when I think of this pop smash. A simple yet memorable trumpet ditty that allows people to feel a part of this great song. I wish I came up with it!!!
The Beatles, “Penny Lane”
“Penny Lane” is one of my favorite Beatles’ songs. Underscored by flutes and trumpets, the tune is elevated by the classically inspired, majestically performed piccolo trumpet. This is one of the songs that lets me know that (trumpet) horn solos—wink wink—are relevant to pop songs as well.
Jazmine Sullivan, “Baltimore”
“Baltimore” is a remake of a classic Nina Simone song sung by Jazmine Sullivan. The horns are the crisp icing on this jaunty joint, and I was happy to be a part of it.
Keyon Harrold, “MB Lament”
Of course, I can’t resist the chance to plug my own new record “MB Lament” from my upcoming album The Mugician. I wrote the trumpet melody as an anthemic cry of hope and change. This is my lament for the senseless death of teenager Michael Brown as well as the many other black and brown victims of police-related gun violence who have been killed because of our systemically biased society.
(Photo credit: Deneka Peniston)
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