Zo!, Sy Smith & Carmen Rodgers Put Their 'California Love' On Display


Remember how Col. John "Hannibal" Smith (from The A-Team) would pause and say "I love it when a plan comes together!" as the crew prepared to execute another brilliant/outrageous scheme? Well, we imagine that's the feeling Carmen Rodgers, Sy Smith and Zo! must've felt the day they decided to scrap their individual "featurette" performances and instead unite on stage for a trio of concerts in California last spring. They called it the California Love Tour and consequently made the East Coast green with envy. Thankfully, those of us that missed out can now get a taste of the magic that happened that weekend with the long-play music video California Love - A Triptych.

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The short film was shot and directed by Shawn Carter Peterson (who also happens to be Sy's hubby) and centers on the opening night of the tour at Sheila E.'s E Spot Lounge. Peterson gives us a glimpse into that special evening with concert footage as well as intimate peeks behind-the-scenes as the trio prepared for the event. As the clip begins, we hear Zo! and the band (Maurice Ellis on bass and Stacey Lamont Sydnor on percussion) prepping that fish grease as they meld SoHo's "Hot Music" with Zo!'s "We Are On The Move" (still one of our favorite videos ever, BTW). Afterwards, we're treated to a feature from each of the artists: Sy's vibrant rendition of "Personal Paradise" (from Fast & Curious), Carmen’s soulful proclamation "It’s Me" (from The Bitter Suite) and Zo!’s virtuosity on “Flight Of The Blackbyrd” (from SunStorm). Sy and Carmen clearly came to slay, looking stunning in shimmery gold and animal print, while Zo! caused permanent "stank face" with his brilliant keywork.

To be honest, the chemistry shared among the three friends is no surprise. Separately, both singers have worked on many projects with the Zo!. And collectively, as members of The Foreign Exchange fam, they can be heard collaborating on several albums. But aside from the obvious appreciation of their masterful musicianship, it's an added treat to see the three artists enjoying their kinship offstage. Speaking of +FE, they dropped a bomb on us recently via social media and we have yet to recover. Especially so soon after blessing us with the gloray that is Tales From the Land of Milk and Honey. Check out California Love - A Triptych below and stay tuned to these pages for more on the upcoming releases from The Foreign Exchange collective. Hint: Zo! is up first.

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