For the cover story of Philadelphia Weekly‘s October 6 issue, Tara Murtha writes a feature on Philadelphia singer Res (real name Shareese Ballard). Res met with modest success a decade ago, when her album How I Do garnered her mainstream attention, including video airplay on VH1 Soul, a contract that paid her living expenses while she toured and recorded, and that gave her the pick of the musicians she worked with
The essence of this story Res’s return to Philadelphia and her transition into an indie artist, and the peg is a monthlong Sunday-night residency Res is doing at Silk City in Northern Liberties. The piece is also set against the general implosion of the music industry. Her first album was out on MCA, which was absorbed by Geffen, and although she survived the transition, other, bigger artists were given priority despite Res’s selling 300,000 copies of How I Do. Her second album wasn’t released at all, although downloads of Black.Girls.Rock! can be easily found.
Still, Res has some profile, according to Murtha’s article. She toured with Gnarls Barkley, singing backup on the tour to support their first album, and Murtha’s article opens with Res onstage with Idle Warship, a collaboration with Talib Kweli, one of the most respected MCs in hip hop, and Canadian cross-genre artist Graph Nobel, who is less well-known but has popped up here and there in the scene.
While there are some interesting and sometimes tangential nuggets – Res’s early songwriting partner was Santigold, aka Santi White, who, much to my surprise, turns out to be disgraced Philadelphia political-insider Ron White‘s daughter – and Murtha does offer a lot of context for the points mentioned above, the piece seems to sag in the middle.
At one point, 44 graphs of nothing but Murtha’s and Res quotations exist between any other sources. This evinces two problems. Continue reading