Motown The Musical's Danii Roundtree Talks New Album 'Memoirs,' & Jazz Legends [INTERVIEW]
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Motown The Musical’s Danii Roundtree Talks New Album ‘Memoirs,’ & Jazz Legends [INTERVIEW]

“I think music can be clean, and beautiful, and evoke feeling. We’ve got to bring back soul and love in music.”

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Danii Roundtree

Danii Roundtree is flowering into your next favorite jazz vocalist. The young singer has already graced the stage at the Atlanta Jazz Festival as well as with popular Broadway productions like Motown The Musical and Porgy & Bess. She was also a top 100 finalist on American Idol’s eighth season.


Now, Roundtree (and her background vocalists creatively named The Coco Puffs) are set to release her debut album, Memoirs, later this summer. Her band is dubbed the Retro Rebels.

In the meantime, The Urban Twist caught up with Roundtree (through an e-mail interview) to discuss her “retro” sound, performing at the Atlanta Jazz Festival on her birthday and how she she plans to make her music last forever.

When did you decide to be a singer?
I was a stage kid. My parents decided at 14 that they would send me to Dillard Center for the Arts to begin focusing on voice and acting. That began my journey as a vocalist.

How was it like to perform at the Atlanta Jazz Festival?
The show and reviews were amazing! It was an awesome birthday gift to share my talents on my special day on stage!

What is the message from “Memoirs”?
Memoirs is an album written from true life events. We all have that one love story that ends before it starts. And I just so happen to be a singer/ songwriter who documents through song. This album is literally a collection of my memoirs. All the records are personal.

What made you want to go with a “retro” feel?
The sound has a throwback feel that is Jazz-oriented with Funk and Soul elements; cleverly coined as ‘Retro’. I am a old soul but, still young and vibrant. So it only made since[sic] for me to be truthful with my sound bringing back the old school elements that I grew up on all while giving it a fresh new feel.

What inspired you to write “Crave”?
I was in love. It was a declaration of happiness and the euphoric feeling love brings.

What do you hope fans get from your music?
I want my Retro Kids to feel my music. Every time they come into contact with my artistry.. I want them to have an experience. The industry has changed so much. Especially musical content. I think music can be clean, and beautiful, and evoke feeling. We’ve got to bring back soul and love in music.

Who are some of your inspirations?
My late father 1st and foremost is my biggest inspiration. This all was his dream for me, and I am happy that I am walking into his vision he had for my career! Additionally, I love the greats… Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, and Peggy Lee were the pioneers. I just hope to one day have a career as successful as theirs. They to me are originators.

You mentioned that you wanted to go into acting, what genre do you want to work in?
I have a degree in both voice and acting. I ultimately would love to venture into film and television, and transition back to theater later in my career.

What have you been watching?
Lately I’ve been watching a ton of documentaries on African American culture. I think it’s important for young people to really tap into their cultural awareness. I draw inspiration from it. Im[sic] proud to be a woman of color and connecting to my ancestry.

Who do you want to work with in the future?
Honestly, I just wanted to work with respected artists in the industry who have created classic content. Erykah Badu, Herbie Hancock, Chaka Kahn, Barbra Streisand, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Harry Connick Jr, Tony Bennett, Michael Buble, and Elton John would be a dream list to start haha. I’ve always been obsessed with classic tunes… They stand the test of time. Thats the type of music I aspire to make over the course of my career.

Keep up with Danii Roundtree on Facebook & Twitter.

I feast my eyes on South Korean dramas and my ears take delight in Hip Hop. BA in Advertising/PR. MA in Journalism. 1/2 of the podcast #NerdsOnHipHop. I'm also known to dabble in photography and graphic design. Currently: attempting to tackle coding.

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Entertainment

Megyn Kelly’s Ratings Hit “Possible All-Time Low for ‘Today’”

Megyn Kelly’s ratings continue to go down the tubes.

TUT Staff

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NBC’s big gamble on Megyn Kelly taking over Tamron Hall’s old timeslot continues to not pay off the way they expected.


According to Page Six, producers were hoping for a ratings bonanza with Harvey Weinstein accuser Lauren Sivan on “Megyn Kelly Today” last week but only ended up with lower ratings, as viewership slipped from 0.77 ratings points on Monday to 0.54 ratings points on Tuesday.

“It’s a possible all-time low for ‘Today.’ It may even be lower than her [Fox] cable show. [NBC News president] Noah [Oppenheim] and [NBC News and MSNBC chairman] Andy [Lack] are in big trouble,” a source told Page Six.

Another source added, “That’s a big drop. They have to turn this around.”

Kelly also appeared for the first time on MSNBC earlier this week.

“It’s unthinkable. You don’t see Matt [Lauer] or Savannah [Guthrie] on MSNBC … It’s not a good sign.”

Kelly’s poor ratings have also affected “Kathie Lee & Hoda,” Page Six reported after Kelly’s hour of “Today” was down 32 percent as compared to a year ago, while “Kathie Lee & Hoda” fell 26 percent. Insiders are reportedly blaming that on Kelly’s “weak lead-in.”

But on Friday, an NBC insider insisted: “Megyn’s having a strong week. Her numbers are up double-digits versus last week,” and “NBC News anchors appear frequently on MSNBC.”

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Music

Nelly’s Rape Accuser Refusing to Testify Won’t Stop the Police From Investigating the Case

The police are still investigating, although Nelly’s accuser refuses to testify in the case.

TUT Staff

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Nelly’s rape accuser refusing to testify doesn’t change the police investigation, according to TMZ.


Law enforcement sources in Washington State say police in Auburn are not phased by the accuser’s noncooperation with the investigation. Auburn PD is reportedly still gathering evidence and plans to present the case to the prosecutor’s office.

The alleged victim says she couldn’t take the pressure of taking on a celebrity and felt betrayed by police — so she decided not to testify against Nelly.

While her noncooperation makes the case more challenging, it’s not impossible to prosecute.

Auburn cops want to present the case to prosecutors soon — within the next week, reports TMZ.

Nelly’s attorney, Scott Rosenblum, tells TMZ he’s confident the case will be closed based on the evidence. He adds, “I would expect the police to do their due diligence.”

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Movies

New ‘Black Panther’ Trailer Released and Gives Us a Closer Look at Wakanda and Their Technology

The new trailer for ‘Black Panther’ has been released and things definitely look good in Wakanda.

TUT Staff

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Marvel Studios has released a new trailer for Black Panther, the new film starring Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, the titular hero and the king of the technologically-advanced African nation of Wakanda.


Check out the trailer above.

Chadwick Boseman debuted as the Black Panther in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War as sought vengeance death of his father, King T’Chaka, against the Winter Soldier. Boseman will also reprise his role as Black Panther for Avengers: Infinity War in May 2018.

The new film sees Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis), who was first introduced in Avengers: Age of Ultron, attempting to return to the hidden nation of Wakanda. He is this time joined by Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), a mercenary with a grudge against Wakanda’s royal family.

As revealed in the trailer, it seems that both T’Challa and Killmonger will be getting new panther suits in the film. There’s also a brief hint that T’Challa’s sister, Shuri (Letitia Wright), may suit up. Shuri also became Black Panther in the Marvel Universe for a time.

Black Panther opens in theaters on February 16, 2018.

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