Photo: Matt Doheny
Positive Vibes Only: Piano Virtuoso BLKBOK Offers A Graceful Performance Of "Michelle's First Day At The White House"
BLKBOK encapsulates the easy grace of Michelle Obama's "When they go low, we go high" message in his elegant, instrumental performance of "Michelle's First Day At the White House."
Classical music is often seen as predominantly historic. But Detroit-based pianist BLKBOK proves that this form of music can still speak to today's cultural climate with his recordings, including his 2021 track "Michelle's First Day At the White House."
As its title hints, the song is the elegant soundtrack BLKBOK envisioned for Michelle Obama's historic moment in 2009, when she became the first Black First Lady in American History. Fittingly, the piece has elements of ceremony and solemn celebration. But that's just the beginning for this reimagining of Obama stepping into her place in American history for the very first time.
In this episode of Positive Vibes Only, BLKBOK brings "Michelle's First Day At the White House" to life with a stunning performance. Sitting at a Yamaha grand piano, the neo-classical pianist passionately performs the song with vigor and grace.
Ultimately, BLKBOK's track calls to mind the elegance and high-minded vision that Obama displayed throughout her eight-year tenure in the White House — perhaps most famously in a phrase she delivered in a speech in 2016, "When they go low, we go high."
"Michelle's First Day at the White House" is part of BLKBOK's 2021 album Black Book. It's one of several socially conscious songs on the project, which also includes modern-day time-keepers such as "November 7th, 2020" and "George Floyd & the Struggle For Equality."
Press play above to watch as BLKBOK braids contemporary narratives with a classically-inspired performance. Check back to GRAMMY.com every Sunday for more installments of Positive Vibes Only.
Photo: Courtesy of Housefires
Positive Vibes Only: Housefires Embrace Community Bonds With This Live Performance Of "We Give You The Highest Praise"
Using call-and-response singing with a passionate crowd, worship collective Housefires embrace the power of community in this performance of "We Give You the Highest Praise," a track from their new album, 'How to Start a Housefire Part III.'
As their name suggests, worship collective Housefires believes music should set communities ablaze — but with passion. That's why, from the start of their career in 2014, they have brought together a diverse group of soloists with different musical upbringings and heritages. And on their newest album, How to Start a Housefire Part III, they're offering 10 more tracks of communal praise of the Lord.
In this episode of Positive Vibes Only, Housefires delivers a live performance of the project's B-side, "We Give You the Highest Praise." Led by members Ryan Ellis and Davy Flowers, the song invites listeners to join with call-and-response style singing.
"Lift up His name higher and higher/ Lift up His praise higher and higher/ Because He deserves it all," they chant. "To the One who gave it all/ You can have it all."
Housefires released How to Start a Housefire Part III on Nov. 3 via Capitol CMG / Tribl Records. According to their artist biography, the three-part series is "about stripping away the veneer and illusion of 'success and fame,' within a worship or music industry context" and "meant to be a resource for the church in thought and creed."
Press play on the video above to hear Housefires' unifying performance of "We Give You the Highest Praise," and check back to GRAMMY.com every Monday for more new episodes of Positive Vibes Only.
Photo: Courtesy of Kings Return
Positive Vibes Only: Kings Return Kick Off The Holiday Season With A Jolly Performance Of "Mary, Did You Know?"
Dallas-based a cappella group Kings Return celebrates the holidays with a unique arrangement of "Mary, Did You Know?," a Christmas classic addressed to Mary, the mother of Jesus.
This Christmas season, Dallas-bred a cappella group Kings Return honor the truth of Jesus — tracing back to the Nativity scene in the Bible when the world first met Him on the track "Mary, Did You Know?"
"Mary, did you know/ That your baby boy is Lord of all creation?/ Mary, did you know/ That your baby boy would one day rule the nations?," the quartet sings. "This sleeping child you're holding/ Is the great I am."
In this episode of Positive Vibes Only, Kings Return perform a stunning rendition of "Mary, Did You Know?," standing around one mic to let their four harmonies shine.
"Mary, Did You Know?" is a track from Kings Returns' newest Christmas EP, We Four Kings, which also features original arrangements of festive hits like "Let It Snow," "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and more. We Four Kings is the second holiday EP in their discography; they released their first, A Merry Little Christmas, in 2021.
Kings Return will further celebrate the holiday season with their Holiday Tour, beginning Dec. 1 in Washington D.C. and concluding on Dec. 22 in their native Dallas — just in time for Christmas.
Press play on the video above to hear Kings Return's jolly rendition of "Mary, Did You Know?," and check back to GRAMMY.com every Monday for more new episodes of Positive Vibes Only.
Photo: Courtesy of Sarah Kroger
Positive Vibes Only: Sarah Kroger Celebrates "Belovedness" In This Uplifting Piano Performance
Contemporary worship leader and songwriter Sarah Kroger offers an encouraging message of self-love in this stripped-down performance of her breakthrough single, "Belovedness."
Everyone knows how easy it is to get hung up in self-loathing. But on her breakthrough single "Belovedness," worship singer Sarah Kroger reminds us it's time to appreciate our God-given beauty and His steadfast love, too.
"He says, 'You're mine, I smiled when I made you/ I find you beautiful in every way,'" Kroger sings in the chorus. "'My love for you is fierce and unending/ I'll come to find you, whatever it takes/ My beloved.'"
In this episode of Positive Vibes Only, Kroger delivers a solo performance of "Belovedness" using just a piano.
"Belovedness" is a single from Kroger's latest studio project, Light. She released her debut live album, The London Sessions, via Integrity Music earlier this year. She is also a member of the multi-cultural trio Village Lights and the female collective FAITHFUL.
Beyond music, Kroger is a contemporary worship leader in the Catholic Church. "Worship became my language with God," she revealed in a press statement. "It allowed me to communicate with the Lord in a way I hadn't experienced before. There was something about it that opened my heart."
Press play on the video above to hear Sarah Kroger's uplifting performance of "Belovedness," and check back to GRAMMY.com every Monday for more new episodes of Positive Vibes Only.
Photo: Courtesy of Brandon Lake
Positive Vibes Only: Brandon Lake Waves His "Coat Of Many Colors" In This Uplifting Performance
Contemporary worship singer Brandon Lake presents an acoustic take on "Coat of Many Colors," the lead single and title track from his new album.
Contemporary worship singer Brandon Lake has gone through many ups and downs, from discovering his worst enemies were people he loved to hitting peak hopelessness. But the one consistent thing is God — and that's comforting enough to transcend every obstacle.
"Was lying in a pit/ But I'm walking the palace now," Lake proclaims in his track "Coat of Many Colors" (not to be confused with the 1971 Dolly Parton classic of the same name). "Once I was a beggar, now I live in the King's house."
In this episode of Positive Vibes Only, Lake delivers a live performance of "Coat of Many Colors," supported by a percussionist and guitarist.
"Coat of Many Colors" is the title track of Lake's newest album, which arrived on Oct. 20 via Provident Label Group. The songs from the project are heavily inspired by the story of Joseph.
"He was misunderstood," Lake said in a statement. "He had dreams that got him in trouble, and he had to go through the process of trusting his dreams and being faithful to God. Joseph went from a pit to a palace, and this album explores this theme heavily."
On Oct. 26, Lake will begin the Coat of Many Colors Tour in Tyler, Texas, supported by Benjamin William Hastings and Leeland.
Press play on the video above to hear Brandon Lake's encouraging performance of "Coat of Many Colors," and check back to GRAMMY.com every Monday for more new episodes of Positive Vibes Only.