Pop Culture News

Maya Angelou’s ‘Caged Bird Songs’ Album To Be Released November 4th


One of the most renowned and influential voices of our time, iconic American writer, poet, actor, dancer, director, composer and lecturer Dr. Maya Angelou, will posthumously release Caged Bird Songs on November 4th via Smooch Music. Caged Bird Songs, produced by RoccStarr (whose production credits include Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Hudson and CeeLo Green) and Shawn Rivera (the lead singer of Az Yet, the R&B vocal pop group formerly on La Face/Arista Records) in Los Angeles and at Angelou’s North Carolina home, is a unique musical collaboration which thoughtfully blends the lyrics and recorded vocal performances of Dr. Angelou with modern day hip-hop, creating an exciting new work and presenting her words in a way they’ve never been heard before.

Though best known for her  poetry, Dr. Angelou lived a long life full of music that included a critically acclaimed calypso album, seven songs with Ashford & Simpson on their album Been Found and collaborations with other musical greats including Wynton Marsalis and Roberta Flack. She won three GRAMMY Awards for her spoken word recordings, received TONY Award and Pulitzer Prize nominations, as well as numerous other honors. Angelou received an EMMY Nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Nyo Boto in Roots and had her directorial debut for Down In The Delta released by Miramax Films in 1998.

“Music was such a huge part of my grandmother’s life,” said Colin A. Johnson, Dr. Angelou’s grandson and founder of Caged Bird Legacy. “She loved everything, from pop to country and, of course, hip hop. With her dedication to social activism and how she illuminated the struggles and injustices of the urban experience through prose, there’s a direct correlation to hip hop today. She was really excited about her words being presented in this way and I’m glad her fans will now be able to hear it.”

Caged Bird Songs’ 13 tracks crackle with urgency. Dr. Angelou’s rebellious, street-wise commentary on inner-city circumstance and her braggadocios flair for colloquial slang has been perfectly paired here with modern hip-hop beats. The lyrical content, underlying social context, rhythm, melody and cadence of Dr. Angelou’s early work bears a striking resemblance to the sound of current hip-hop and is, unfortunately, still relevant to today’s urban experience.

Caged Bird Songs Tracklist:

1. Human Family

2. Pow Pow

3. Sepia Fashion Show

4. Harlem Hopscotch

5. Pickin’ Em Up

6. On Aging

7. Ain’t That Bad

8. One More Round

9. Come And Be My Baby

10. The Thirteens

11. Africa

12. Life Doesn’t Frighten Me

13. Still I Rise

Angelou was born April 4, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri, and passed away this May at the age of 86.  Revered and respected as a spokesperson for the black American experience and as a champion for women’s rights, her literary works are widely used in schools and universities around the world. The release of this new musical work, set to modern hip-hop, will highlight her observations on themes such as racism, identity, family and travel and will remind the public, as well as many new fans around the world, how poignant and timeless her message is.

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