It’s such a blessing, to love and be loved in return – I Wanna Know.
I bought tickets to the Foreign Exchange show at the El Rey this year months in advance. Excited is an understatement as I anticipated their L.A. show for what seemed like forever.
Foreign Exchange has been a staple in my life soundtrack since they debuted with Connected back in 2004. I have followed Phonte since his Little Brother days and Nicolay stays constant in my top tier plays at home, in my car, at work. Together as FE and on their own, both these gentlemen have dominated my music charts for many years and as someone who prides herself in having eclectic musical tastes (and being a bit of a music snob) – that just tells you everything.
I honestly have felt like I have grown with them – as they have matured with each album, so have I. And it was pure delight to see them live this year. Schedules and circumstance left me flying solo to the show this year – but somehow I felt like the Universe needed me to be there alone. To soak up each song, each lyric, each hysterical life lesson Phonte was sharing with us – alone. I needed to hear it on my own terms. It’s been a very difficult year for me emotionally and the Life In Flying Colors Tour was a breath of fresh air and life force injection I sorely needed. What makes Foreign Exchange so important to me is how well they’ve made their art and the lessons they’ve learned in their own lives – so accessible in their music. When you see FE live, it’s like watching your own group of friends on stage, having a blast, experimenting together, telling jokes, sharing wisdom, being silly, being grateful to be doing what they love… together. And what you can feel is how much heart they’ve put into their music. The stories you hear in their songs feel real. Feel tangible. I have listened to each album on a loop for months at a time after each release – and I can sing all the songs on Connected, Leave It All Behind by heart.
Don’t hide the truth from yourself. – Daykeeper.
The stories in +FE’s songs are stories of love, heartbreak, loss, win, grit, bravery, perseverance – what makes their music special is authenticity. Foreign Exchange is not your average music group, they are brave enough to tell the truth. And they do it with skill. The kind of love they narrate in their songs is not steeped in fantasy, but extracted from the hard-fought triumphs and heartbreak we experience. Without overtures filtered in rose-colored glasses or stories rooted in hyper-drama – it’s as if you and your best friend sat across from each other on your couch and the two of you decided to have a heart to heart. The kind of conversation that leaves you feeling a little gutted and feeling good about how much you’ve opened up to life and each other.
So, the next time you see FE rolling through your town, do yourself a favor and buy a ticket. The next time you’re in a record store? Buy their album. Listen. Get lost in it. And find yourself in their music – over and over again.
I’ve been changed, and rearranged and, it’s not like it was before. – Valediction
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