Romain Virgo on Colourful Radio DAB 01-April-2018
Lovesick is the perfect title for the latest album from reggae star Romain Virgo. The young, engaging tenor is at his best when expressing both the passions and heartaches of love relationships. His music follows the tradition of fellow ‘crooners’ Percy Sledge, Sam Cooke, Kenny ‘Baby Face’ Edmonds, Dennis Brown and Beres Hammond. The lyrical power and emotional depth of his songs go beyond expectations of his age and continue to capture and convert the hearts and souls of fans worldwide.
Lovesick demonstrates an exciting new direction in the artist’s style and flow. “This album is about my personal growth and the new directions we’re taking in the music,” said Romain. “We experimented with styles and genres that we haven’t dared to before. The writing is on a new level too.”
A truly inspired talent, Romain satisfies his loyal reggae following with a constant flow of infectious hooks, while his unique voice as a songwriter and updated “pop reggae” sound place him in a class by himself.
Raised in a disciplined home in the rural town of Stepney in the parish of St. Annes, the young Jamaican is a natural born crooner with an old school soul. He first gained fame when he made history as the youngest winner of Television Jamaica’s (TVJ) popular “Rising Stars” talent competition at just 17-years-old and later by winning Artist of the Year by JaRIA (Jamaica Reggae Industry Association) in 2012. ““Winning ‘Rising Stars’ changed my life completely,” Romain admitted. People didn’t see me as country boy anymore. And I was able to help my family which gave me the best feeling.”
Now, with his third album on the VP Records imprint, Romain Virgo comes into his own. “Over the past few years on the road, we’ve learned what works for the fans, with this album we hope to take it further, going beyond expectations.” The core production for the album comes from Nicholas ‘Niko’ Browne and veterans Shaun ‘Sting International’ Pizzonia (Shaggy, Sting) and Clive Hunt (Abyssinians, Dennis Brown, Alpha Blondy). All lyrics were written or co-written by Romain Virgo.
The lead single “Still” is a love-struck anthem on the Skyscraper riddim, combining 90s dancehall melodies and a pop reggae beat. Riddim producer Richie Stephens, introduced the track to Romain after hearing the up-tempo hit “Now” and its unique and up-tempo energy. “I want people to feel uplifted,” said Romain, commenting on his choice to do more dancehall leaning tracks for LoveSick. “It demonstrates the kind of energy and world I want to create through my music, to make people want to live love.” Anticipation for the music video is growing as the Skyscraper riddim begins its run.
His breakout hit “Now,” a feel-good, energetic track produced by Frenchie of Maximum Sounds, was released in the summer of 2017 alongside an addictively upbeat video filmed in Irish Town and Hope Gardens Kingston, Jamaica. “I was at home when I got the Skank and Wave riddim…I was vibing to it, so I got dressed and went straight to the studio and recorded ‘Now.’ And it came out exactly how we wanted it to sound.” Although the track isn’t based on a personal experience, as is true with many Romain’s songs, he claimed it’s one of his favourites and can see it becoming a mainstream tune.
Another rousing track “Trouble,” produced by Kurt Reilly’s gives fans and new listeners alike a Beres Hammond like feel. Commenting on comparisons to the reggae great Romain said, “to reach the level of a living legend like him you must put in dedication and an endless amount of work.”
LoveSick includes Romain’s stirring version of the Sam Smith smash “Stay With Me.” When I was introduced to the song, I knew I had to record it over a reggae riddim. It’s one of the biggest covers I’ve done so far,” said Romain. “Everywhere we go, the crowds demand “Stay With Me.” People just love it, so it’s become a permanent part of my set.” The song has become a fan favourite across the globe, rivalling popularity with the original version in Japan. Romain, also achieved major success with his cover of Dennis Brown’s “Caress Me,” produced by reggae legend Clive Hunt. “We really spent some time on that song, trying something new with my voice,” he said.
Overall, the album is extremely personal, drawing directly from Romain’s real-life experiences. “These are my life stories in terms of love, of having it, of losing it, of finding it again.” Romain expresses that his calling is to sing about the universality of love in all its multiple guises. “I’m a very emotional person,” Romain said. “And I believe love is the one thing that’s going to save us, not just in terms of relationships, but in the broader human sense.” When asked what message he’d like to convey through his music, Romain didn’t skip a beat. “I personally believe that nothing forms a stronger bond than love. It cuts through race, religion, creed, everything. We need to put it at the centre of our lives.”
Pauline Catlin aka Shezekiel
Pauline Catlin aka Shezekiel on Colourful Radio DAB 25-March-2018
Formerly of the successful vocal trio Brown Sugar, Pauline Catlin now known as Shezekiel, along with Caron Wheeler and Carol Simms during the 70’s and 80’s were the first British Reggae music trio with a succession of hits and pioneers of the popular genre known today as ‘Lovers Rock’, produced by Dennis Bovell. Now after a 27 year absence Shezekiel has been working with Jazz musician and Producer Wayne Brown on her debut album ‘Catch the Boat’.
Wayne has collaborated with an array of artists as both a writer and producer including Billy Ocean, Ruby Turner, Earth Wind and Fire, Junior Giscombe, Stevie Winwood, Jonathan Butler, George Michael, Janet Kay, Lulu, Yazz and played with jazz greats such as Coleman Hawkins and Tal Farlow. Wayne went on to sell several million records as a writer and producer with his international top 5 hits ‘Heartache’ and ‘Goodbye Stranger’. The first album ‘The Jazz Club Volume 1’ received international critical acclaim with great support from radio opening doors to performances throughout Europe and the USA.
Shezekiel’s band members include Neville Malcolm otherwise known as “level Neville” one of the most in demand electric and double Bass players in the country having worked with the likes of Incognito, Gabrielle, Tom Jones and Gregory porter to name a few, also drummer Jose Joyette who has played around the world with artists such as Craig David, Ministry of Sound , Nona Hendry, De la soul ,Tunde Jegede and Amy Winehouse, Jose is currently on tour with Dee Dee Bridgewater & China Moses, and Giulio Ramano Malaisi a phenomenal classical and Jazz guitarist who learnt his craft from at the Italian Gilfredo Cattalica Music Academy collaborating with top musicians from all over the world including Greg miller and Phil Ramacon.
Shezekiel is now getting ready to release her first solo single ‘Beams from Heaven’ produced by Carlton Bubbler’s Ogilvie as a tribute and return to her Reggae roots, to be followed by another single ‘I am with You’ produced by Clifton ‘Bigga’ Morrison.
Shezekiel’s forthcoming album showcases a unique musical fusion of Jazz, Reggae and Neo Soul as she magically captures a musical vibrancy reflecting her journey and the collision of her Caribbean and British roots.
Shezekiel’s debut album Catch The Boat is out in 2016.
Lo-Key? on Colourful Radio DAB 18-March-2018
The R&B band/group Lo-Key? is comprised of André “Dré” Shepard (lead vocals), Darron “D” Story (vocals/trumpet), Tyrone “T-Bone” Yarbrough (vocals/bass guitar) and Tony “prof t” Tolbert (lead vocals/producer).
The group got their start at the 1989 Black Minnesota Music Awards Seminar where Flyte Tyme Records’ “Jimmy Jam” Harris was a panelist on the producer’s forum. During the discussion, former member and co-founder Lance Alexander said to Jimmy Jam, “How do I get one of those Flyte Tyme jackets?!”
The forum encouraged Lance and Tony to send Jimmy Jam and his songwriting and production partner, Terry Lewis, a demo of their work, and soon after they were hired as songwriters and producers for the company. Having composed for Alexander O’Neal, Shanice Wilson, Jane Child and Johnny Gill, the two producers earned enough respect to motivate the songwriting and production team to request that the two men form a group.
Lance and Tony didn’t have to look too far. Tony, Tyrone and Darron were initially members of the band Grand Jury in Kansas City, Missouri. After they moved to Minneapolis, the guys met André during auditions for Jesse Johnson’s group “Da Krash.” Thus, in the fall of 1990, Lo-Key? was officially recognized as Lance and Tony brought their group mates on board.
Featuring a throwback sound, the group’s first album “Where Dey At?” showed the guys were not like the other groups prominent at the time. Rather than try to sound like Boyz II Men or Jodeci, Lo-Key? featured a sound reminiscent of bands like Earth, Wind & Fire, Parliament Funkadelic, The Isley Brothers and The Dazz Band. The album’s first single “Attention: The Shawanda Story” didn’t didn’t receive much airplay, but its creative and comedic video continues to be a fan favorite to this day. With later singles “I Got A Thang For Ya,” “Sweet On You” and “Hey There Pretty Lady,” however, the group started making a name for themselves. The Gold single, “I Got A Thang 4 Ya!” reached #1 on the R&B charts and #27 on the Hot 100, while “Sweet On U” reached #13 on the R&B charts and “Hey There Pretty Lady” peaked out at #56.
In 1994 Lo-Key? released their second CD “Back To Da’ Howse.” The album continued the band’s unique “old school” sound, paying musical homage to the artists who had inspired them over the years. The singles “Tasty” and “Good Old Fashioned Love” are still considered R&B classics and continue to receive airplay throughout the US and the UK.
In 1995, the band took some time off to pursue other interests. Each band member went on to make his own impact in the industry. Lance and Tony continued to pen songs for artists like Alexander O’Neal, The Sounds of Blackness and Next, for whom the two are credited with penning their first hit, “Butta Love.” The two men went their separate ways in 1997, with Lance forming the label, Baby Honey Records and prof t. becoming the A&R director for Flyte Tyme’s new label and went on to work with Janet Jackson, Earth, Wind and Fire, The Isley Brothers, TLC, Solo and Jessica Simpson. D worked at BMG distribution and formed his own artist management and television production company, Intrepid Entertainment, T-Bone went on to write and form his own band, and Dré performed with the world famous Platters and Temptations.
Now Lo-Key? are back on the scene, picking up right where they left off and excited about collaborating with the talented Anthony Saunders. Some of Anthony’s credits include working with Boyz II Men, Joe, Justin Bieber, Tamar Braxton and Janet Jackson. The band is currently in the studio working on a new single, “We Grown,” to be released in the first quarter 2018 and is gearing up for shows in the UK in April 2018. With the music-buying public getting tired of songs without substance and “one-hit wonders” on the radio today, Lo-Key? is set to bring their unique blend of live R&B, soul, funk, rock, blues, gospel and jazz back to the music scene right on time!
Brenda Holloway on Colourful Radio DAB 11-March-2018
Motown international legend Brenda Holloway much-loved among UK Soul audiences – teams with one of her protégés, Rags Moody III on ‘Same Page’ an infectious, heart-stirring ballad produced by award-winning music man Preston Glass.
Take internationally-renowned Motown legend Brenda Holloway – known for her classic hits, “Every Little Bit Hurts,” “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy” and “When I’m Gone” – and one of her musical ‘discoveries’ Alabama-born multi-talented Rags Moody III, team, them with award-winning producer/songwriter Preston Glass and it’s a perfect combination!
Written by Brenda, Rags and Preston, the heart-stirring “Same Page” hearkens back to the golden duets of Peaches & Herb, Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell and Ashford & Simpson, with its infectious and memorable hook and soulful vocal delivery from Brenda – who remains much beloved particularly in the UK where she’s justifiably considered one of the true Motown greats – and Rags whose track “Family Man” from the recently-released “Preston Glass Presents: Love & Compassion” album – has garnered much appreciation from audiences who appreciate traditional soul music.
Another winner from SoulMusic Records (SMR) in association with Platinum Garage Recordings!
Born in California on June 26, 1946, Brenda Holloway grew up in Los Angeles and studied the violin at school, as well as singing at the local Church with her younger sister Patrice.
Recording for the first time whilst still a teenager she came to the attention of record shop owner Kent Harris who brought Brenda to the attention of Bob Keane, the head of Del-Fi Records. He was so impressed with the precocious youngster’s talent to have her record ‘Echo’ for the Donna label in 1962.
The same label later released ‘I’ll Find Myself A Guy’ by The Wattesians, an all-girl group put together by Hal Davis and featuring Brenda and Patrice.
The following year (1963) found Brenda virtually ever-present in the studio, recording various songs produced by Hal Davis with the exception of ‘Every Little Bit Hurts’, which was written and produced by Ed Cobb for potential release on Del-Fi but subsequently held back.
It was Hal Davis who helped get Brenda something of an audition for Berry Gordy, at which she sang a version of Mary Wells’ ‘My Guy’. Suitably impressed with her vocal abilities (and, it is said, equally taken by the tight fitting gold outfit she wore), Berry offered a recording contract on the proviso Brenda graduate from high school first. Her first Motown session saw her re-record ‘Every Little Bit Hurts’ somewhat differently. The flip side was to be ‘Land Of A Thousand Boys’, a song written by Brenda herself. Released on the Tamla label in 1964, the single would go on to become the biggest West Coast produced single for the Motown group of labels at the time, finally reaching Number 3 in the R&B chart and Number 13 in the Pop chart.
Its progress up the chart was helped by Brenda appearing on the Motortown Revue and Dick Clark’s ‘American Bandstand’, subsequently going out on the road as part of Clark’s ‘Caravan Of Stars’ tour that summer (unbeknown to Brenda, her presence on the tour helped get The Supremes the kick-start their career needed, for so keen had Dick Clark been to get Brenda on board, he accepted Esther Gordy-Edwards imposing The Supremes on the tour as part of the deal). As the tour progressed, so The Supremes’ record ‘Where Did Our Love Go’ moved up the charts and the group moved up the roster, displacing Brenda in the process.
However, the success of ‘Every Little Bit Hurts’ had given Brenda a toe-hold on chart material herself, resulting in her similarly Ed Cobb penned follow-up ‘I’ll Always Love You’ also making something of a dent on the Pop chart. Motown also rush released an album, ‘Every Little Bit Hurts’ in the wake of this success, with all but one of the twelve tracks being recorded in Los Angeles, the exception being the Clarence Paul production ‘A Favor For A Girl (With A Lovesick Heart)’ that was recorded on Brenda’s first trip to Detroit.
The album followed the then standard Motown formula; a hit or two, a few originals, a few covers from the Jobete catalogue and a couple of standards. Brenda’s voice stood out, particularly on the ballads. Her star was seemingly on the rise, helped by the sudden departure of Mary Wells for a contract with 20th Century; Berry Gordy quickly announced plans to make Brenda Holloway the new female star at Motown.
Gaining access to the same pool of writers and producers who had helped get Mary Wells to the top, including Smokey Robinson, who would write and produce ‘When I’m Gone’, a song originally intended for Miss Wells.
Brenda’s version made it to both the Pop and R&B charts and saw Brenda back on the road again, this time supporting The Beatles on their debut US tour.
The failure of the Berry Gordy penned ‘You Can Cry On My Shoulder’ to make a proper impact, followed by ‘Together ‘Til The End Of Time’ also missing out on the charts convinced Brenda that her career was not exactly as she envisaged, especially when her scheduled second album ‘Hurtin’ & Cryin’ was canned.
In March 1967 Brenda with her sister Patrice began writing work what would go on to become one of the most valuable songs in the company’s catalogue. ‘You’ve Made Me So’ was a very successful 45, returning Brenda to the Top 40, but Brenda had decided she was no longer a priority in the Gordy empire and left Motown. Her name made a return when the UK arm of Motown, Tamla Motown issued a compilation album, ‘The Artistry Of Brenda Holloway’ in October 1968 an LP that would go on to be one of the rarest vinyl LP’s for collectors and has recently been released on CD by Ace Records for the very first time.
Brenda would return to the recording studios in 1972 for Holland-Dozier-Holland’s Music Merchant label but again another whole LP of music went unreleased. Brenda was one of several former Motown artists to record for Ian Levine and his Motorcity label. Her most recent recordings saw her perform with Cliff Richard on his ‘Soulicious’ concept album.
Brenda still performs magnificently to this day and is still going strong.
Romain Virgo ‘Lovesick’ Album Competition
Tune into my Soul & Reggae Sundays show on Colourful Radio Sunday 18th February 2018 between 4pm and 7pm for your chance to win one of two download copies of Romain Virgo’s brand new album ‘Lovesick’ on VP Records.
Ivy Chanel singer-songwriter, producer, vocal coach, The Songwriters Academy Mentor and sister of legendary Hall of Fame inductee, Hip Hop legend DJ Cash Money, Ivy Chanel is an artist with a rich musical legacy.
The UK based Philly native was raised in the USA listening to a soundtrack of soulful gospel blends. Her music draws inspiration from her African American, French, and Native American heritage. Ivy Chanel is respected by some of the biggest talents in the industry and has worked with artists like Mo Pleasure, Omar, JLS, and Q-Tip. Ivy Chanel has also been invited to provided guest lead vocals for Miss Hoodoo’s and the Delta Boys, C+C Music Factory with Freedom Williams and The Motor City Motown Band to name a few.
Gizelle Smith on Colourful Radio DAB 04-February-2018
Born to a Seychellois mother and an American father who was a band member of legendary Motown group ‘The Four Tops’ Gizelle was raised in Manchester, UK with a multicultural upbringing steeped in soulful music from the very beginning…
Pursuing a career in music was the natural path for her and in her formative years she became a composer in theatrical productions, a trumpet player in several big bands and a singing tutor all while earning an MA in film composition.
Before long, her singing became the main focus as her obvious talents began to attract serious attention in the funk & soul circles. After a first 7” release she was picked up and remixed by Grammy nominee producer Kenny Dope for a release on his Kay Dee imprint.
Soon after she came in to mainstream consciousness as the leader of the Hamburg based outfit ‘The Mighty Mocambos’ on their breakthrough collaborative album ‘This Is Gizelle Smith & The Mighty Mocambos’.
Gizelle excelled in the role of frontwoman which saw her dubbed the ‘Golden Girl Of Funk’ perfectly offset by The Mocambo brand of classic funk and soul centred around catchy dancefloor tunes. It proved to be an underground hit – charting and receiving specialist radio airplay across Europe while moving over 10,000 units of the album and the single ‘Working Woman’ being streamed in excess of 2million times on Spotify, all despite only being backed by a small indie label.
A serious touring schedule then followed which saw her entertaining audiences across the world including a main stage performance at Montreal Jazz Festival to over fifty thousand people.
2016 saw the recording process for her new album “Ruthless day” begin.
Before long there was well over an album’s worth of material and the cathartic nature of the writing process provided a collection of songs soaked in emotion.
Not simply recreating the classic style of the debut, the new record saw her develop a more expansive and progressive sound that exposes her vocal talents and arranging skills far more than before. This time around recruiting a talented crew of jazz-schooled musicians and incorporating a more adventurous approach to instrumentation that sees a wide array of strings, brass and synths added into the mix of the ‘traditional soul band’ set up.
The result is an energetic and harmonically rich, funk record with exciting arrangements that at times remind of Rotary Connection and Cymande in their prime. Yet it’s also undeniably modern and relevant at a time when new the new breed of progressive funk pioneers like Childish Gambino, Thundercat and Mr Jukes are all commanding significant media attention.
Proving she is now back to her best, Gizelle Smith is once again a force to be reckoned with…
Ruthless Day will be released on CD/Vinyl/Digital formats via Jalapeno Records early 2018 and Gizelle Smith will be embarking on a European tour shortly after.
Bright Star Awards – Sunday 28th January 2018
The Bright Star Awards for 2017 in association with Colourful Radio is coming.
Recognising and celebrating the best of UK and international Soul & Reggae for 2017.
Look out for the Grand finale awards show on Sunday 28th January 2018 that will be broadcast LIVE and streamed worldwide.
So that’s the Bright Star Awards for 2017 in association with Colourful Radio and our sponsors Port Royal Patties, the Africa Centre and djsly.co.uk.
More information on www.brightstarawards.co.uk
Sa-Ha-Ra on Colourful Radio DAB 03-December-2017
Sa-Ha-Ra on Colourful Radio DAB 03-December-2017
Love So Fine by SA-HA-RA, is the enduring club classic, known to DJ’s and UK club goers alike.
SA-HA-RA (formerly Sahara), reformed in 2016 and immediately set to work on the long desired ‘Love So Fine’ LP.
The plan was to expand the SA-HA-RA sound and work with other top UK singers and musicians.
Featuring new and re-worked songs, led by Peter Hinds (ex Light of the World, Beggar & Co., Incognito), with partners Steve Sinclair and Kevin Ellis, they have written, arranged and produced, – Love So Fine: Past, Present, Future – LP, to be released on their own SHE Records label.
Side 1, the album opens with a timely message ‘Why The Hate’ with strong vocals by Jenny Ingram- Brown, over a trademark SA-HA-RA groove. The radio friendly and uplifting ‘You Are My Everything’, the philly inspired, mid tempo, sensual vocal, on ‘Let’s Be One Tonight’ and closing with the all time classic , mid 80’s boogie tune ‘Love So Fine’, now available on vinyl, for the first time since the original release.
Side 2, opens with the Pop dance, synth bass pumped, ‘ Let’s Get It On’, to the Chic styled bass driven, ‘How Long’.
Next , the minimal jazz set, sweet vocal ballad ‘Easy Come, Easy Go’ by Helen Louise Jones, featuring Kenny Wellington (LOTW) on Trumpet and Neil Charles on Double Bass. ‘Summer reprise’ hip hop driven drum led, breezy jazzy vocal by the late Jenni Evans and great Keyboard solo from Peter Hinds. And Lastly, ‘God’s Gonna Cut You Down.
This traditional folk song, has been re -arranged by the producers, Sinclair, Hinds & Ellis and set to a mid tempo 70’s soul groove, with stirring Gospel vocals from Yvonne Sinclair.
Colourful Radio up for Best Radio Station 2017 at the UMA
Just so you know Colourful Radio DAB has been nominated for Best Radio Station 2017 at the prestigious Urban Music Awards
Please vote for us here –> http://www.urbanmusicawards.co/voting/
Heather Haywood current member of The Cool Notes a mid-1980s group who had a string of chart hits in the UK between 1983 and 1991. The band, who formed in South London, consisted of seven members of both vocal and instrumental talent.
They are best known for their UK number 11 hit, ‘Spend The Night’. Heather started her musical journey in lovers Rock reggae band with hits namely, The Cool Notes with reggae hits ‘My Tune’, ‘I Will Always Love You’ , ‘ I’ve Got To Let Him Know’ , ‘It’s Not Unusual’ (a cover of the Tom Jones hit) ‘Meant To Be’ and many more. The Cool Notes own creative style of fusing Reggae with Soul music, something the reggae audience at that time did not appreciate but ironically would today recognise as The Cool Notes lovers rock reggae Classics. They first worked together as a Lovers Rock Reggae Band during the mid -’70s the band consisted of 3 female vocalist Audrey, Valerie and Lauraine.
Heather Haywood became a part of the outfit in the latter stages as two of the female singer left. It was in 1983 that the band took up a natural change and became a Soul music group. They first made an impression on the UK Soul music scene with a number 1 summer smash hit ‘You’re Never Too Young’ which also went Top 50 to No. 42 in August 1984. Then followed ‘I forgot’ Top 75 at No. 63 (1984) ‘Spend The Night’ just missing the Top10 at No.11 (1985). ‘In Your Car’ also Top 20 at No.13 (1985) – Both ‘Spend The Night’ and ‘In Your Car’ enjoyed huge European success. ‘Have A Good Forever’ which was also the title track of The Cool Notes first Soul music Album entered Top 75 (1985). ‘Into The Motion’ Top 75 (1986) followed by ‘Girls Night Out’ and ‘Momentary Vision’ (1986). Heather and the band Worked and supported bands such as The Gap Band, The SOS Band, Rose Royce and Atlantic Starr. They also worked alongside the late Whitney Houston and many other legendary musicians and singers.
Heather Left the band in 1988 and signed a deal with Polydor Records in 1989. This was on their Urban sister label. The first song to be released was ‘Bad Attitude’, which was a big club hit. ‘Just What You Deserve’ was a DJ’s favourite and ‘I Want To Satisfy You’ another club hit. Heather left the label after 3 years.
Recorded with independent label 1990 Heather worked with MBeat on a version of Anita Bakers “Sweet Love” as a drum and bass (junglist) track. Heather toured eastern euro with General Levy and more. She is also featured on various compilations. Heather, has had Success in the USA with her 2 singles ‘He’z My Baby’ and ‘Everyday’ on KHP Records North Carolina. The tracks were big Beach music hits. Heather still works with the recording company in the US.
Heather has worked on various musical projects that have had varied success, nonetheless she is a true entertainer/singer/writer, she has stayed true to her profession from the age of 14yrs to now in her legendary status. She re-joined The Cool Notes and toured from 1996 to 2006. And still touring and working with the band; who are due to put out a new album in 2018.
Heather has been working with a French Recording company Candence Records and has just had a solo release on 14th October 2017. The songs are titled ‘Party Tonight’ and ‘Give It Up’. A double A sided record. Heather has been working with Producer NickeeB from Lyon, France on this release. A further single is due to be released in January 2018. Heather has various projects in the bag at this present time and is looking forward to a great 2018.
COCOA TEA is one of Reggae’s most talented and versatile artistes. His smooth, easy-going vocal presentation (pre-recorded or live) have become his trademark, earning him wide international acclaim; with songs like “Lost MY Sonia,” “Tune In” and “Rocking Dolly,” becoming world anthems in Reggae land. Admired and respected for his fine conscious recordings, COCOA TEA is also known for his unwavering generosity and kindness for the less fortunate.
Born Calvin George Scott on September, 3, 1959, in Rocky Point, Clarendon, he was later schooled at the Savannah Primary school in Rocky Point and the Bustamante Junior Secondary School in Lionel Town Clarendon.
From the exposure gained by singing on church and school choirs, COCOA TEA recorded his first song, “Searching In The Hills,” in 1974. Only Fourteen years old and having other interests, Calvin had no plans of making music his career. “Searching In The Hills,” was far from a financial success. The disappointment was keenly felt by Calvin, and so he took the music business off his mind for a while.
The next five years found COCOA TEA first as a Jockey, and then as a Fisherman. It was during this time of fishing that he began structuring his music career. His training grounds were the dancehalls, where he would test his lyrics on the various Sound systems that came to play in his area.
His success in the dancehalls strengthened his purpose and encouraged him to go further, so he began writing songs and training his voice. The final push came when Rashane, his first child, was born. His need for a steady livelihood plunged him into music full time.
Two months after an impressive performance at a dancehall in December ‘ 83,’ COCOA TEA journeyed to Kingston where he met Henry “Junjo” Lawes. “Who’s The Champion” and his first big hit, “Rocking Dolly,” were the first products from what was to be a successful union. These songs along with “Christmas Is Coming,” and “On Top Of The World,” were all compiled with COCOA TEA’S next big hit, “I Lost My Sonia” to produce his first album, by that name (“I Lost My Sonia”).
In 1985 COCOA accepted the Rastafarian faith. The conversion was reflected in his music, with songs like “Settle Down,” “Don’t Be Shy,” Too Much Fussing And Fighting” and “I’ve Gotta Love You,” “86 Flood,” “Highest Mountain,” “Tune In,” “Crying Time,” “Must Unite” and “Come Again,” which he recorded for King Jammy’s, on his fourth album titled “Settle Down” (the others being “Mr. COCO TEA and “Come Again”). The single “Rikers Island,” made it to No.1 in the United States and the U.K. and an album of the same name, his fifth, was to follow. This album also included the hit single “One Woman Show.”
“Oil Ting”- his most controversial recording, done off the War in the Middle East, was banned in England, (because of contents they claimed had Prong sentiments) while it went to No.1 in America. “Oil Ting” was followed by “No Blood For Oil,” ”What’s Gonna Happen After The War,” and ”Ruling Cowboy.”
COCOA TEA’S sixth album, one called “Authorized,” includes the hits ”May Day,” ”One Away Woman,” ‘Hunted- Wanted.” and Evaluation.” Several other singles have also been released, including ”Bust Outta Hell” and ”Kingston Hot” on the legendary Junjo Lawes Volcano Label.
COCOA TEA has been performing all over the world since 1984, with extensive tours to the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean and Japan. Locally he remains a regular on all major concerts and has appeared on reggae’s premiere event, Reggae Sunsplash every year since 1987, except in 1989. He singled out his three most memorable performances to date; his first performance on Sunsplash in 1987, the other, a show in Canada, where he performed for two hors non-stop, and his land mark achievement, a performance in St. Croix, where he performed for 10,000 people in the pouring rain.
COCOA TEA earned his stage name, because of his love for …?… you guessed right, hot cocoa (cocoa tea, as it is called in rural Jamaica). Sweet Sweet COCOA TEA attributes his inspiration to Jah. His aim was to become a role model, a source of learning and inspiration- like the great Bob Marley, whom he so admires. As he puts it, “There is a lack of consciousness from what it used to be, it’s (the music) is becoming what it is not be.”
“If one of my songs can be remembered and or quoted, and be of inspiration or guidance to anyone, then I shall be forever happy with my contribution musically.”
Nateesha Stream on Colourful Radio DAB 05-November-2017
STREAM – 1) Steady flow of water or other liquid. 2) Moving continuously in a line or particular direction. A stream is a natural resource that flows from the Earth. It derives from a spring and journeys to the rivers whose ultimate destination is the wide oceans of the world. STREAM incorporates this philosophy into the creation of her music. She nurtures a thought, morphs it into a melodious blend of words, and delivers it to the hearts and minds of people. Since birth STREAM knew she was destined for greatness.
“It’s a new beginning. New music, new style, new vibes, says Stream. I had to take myself outside the music industry to finally understand what was happening with my career. I can see clearly now and fully understand that good management and vision is the key to success. I was born for this and my goal is to be a trendsetter in music!!!”
With her new connections, Nyah Bless Music, at the helm, 2017 is moving in a positive direction for the talented songstress. Now recording in earnest, she has completed a reggae remake of the Angela Bofill R&B classic “Tonight I Give In”, a gospel bombshell “My God” on Nyah Bless Frivolous Nation rhythm and a patriotic single “Come to Jamaica”.
Born Nateesha Irving, she started singing at the tender age of thirteen. She began performing on community stage shows as part of the girl group trio DA-NA-TE. As a young teen the multi-talented STREAM, also delved into the world of acting and modelling. However it wasn’t until she recorded her first song at the age of 18, titled “My Friend” did she realize her true calling as a songstress. This later led her to form alliances with the female group ‘RASTARINES’ which ultimately lasted a few years.
After leaving ‘RASTARINES’ she made several major solo performance debuts on the local and international stage. Some of her most memorable showcases include East Fest, Reggae Sumfest, Rebel Salute, Western Consciousness, Sting and Sister to Sister media-thon, a charity event which was broadcasted live throughout Jamaica and the World Wide Web. Her most recent overseas performance however was at the Royal Watler Port in Grand Cayman and Dangriga, Belize where she received rave reviews.
Over the years STREAM has done background vocal work for many artistes and worked with a variety of producers. She is featured on Gyptian’s album “My Name is Gyptian” on the track “Holiday”. STREAM’s musical future continues to shine bright. With a plethora of new singles and a busy schedule for summer, STREAM has her sights set on making her presence felt within the music industry. Blessed with a powerful voice, captivating beauty and a charismatic personality, STREAM has managed to flood the reggae industry with tunes that resonates beauty combined with reality.
STREAM’s style is similar to that of Toni Braxton who she considers to be an influence on her musical career. Others include Anita Baker, Teddy Pendergrass and Alton Ellis. Her unique and diverse sound is as quiet as the stream that will one day meet the ocean. She adds, “I can relate to her music, her melody. It connects to me. I can feel her through her music. It’s like when she sings the melody speaks to me. It’s captivating”.
In 2008 she released several singles for the House of Hits record label such as ‘Fuss Nor Fight’, ‘In The Ghetto’, ‘Holding On’ and ‘Sisters’ which is fated to become a symbol of strength for young women across not only Jamaica and the Caribbean but the globe. Because of her ability to inject soulful realness into her music, the Jamaican Music Industry embraced STREAM to the fullest, by rewarding her songs with constant rotation on every major radio and music video cable stations including HYPE TV, MD TV.
Even though she is a female in a male dominated business STREAM has successfully maintained her level of royalness by embracing Rastafari as part of her cultural being. “I’m a Nu-Root Rasta, one that still sticks to and will never forget the fundamentals of my culture.” The future has arrived ladies and gentlemen as STREAM has firmly rooted herself as the next great thing to flow from the rocky springs of Jamaica. Her sound will seek to illustrate a new vibe, a new beginning and spark the growth of a Nu-Root.
Currently working on completing his debut album, STREAM and management company Nyah Bless Music have begun an amazing promotional campaign that will continue throughout the summer with the release of several singles. The album is already causing a stir within the industry with moguls and fans collectively excited at the prospect of 12 vastly different tracks produced by an assortment of well-respected Jamaican producers.
Bright Star Awards 2017 – Press Release
The Bright Star Awards for 2017 is approaching. The team are working hard to make this the best ever Bright Star Awards.
Background / Synopsis
Previously known as Sly’s Awards; the Bright Star Awards is an urban music award. It is the brainchild and concept of Sly of Colourful Radio. Each year we are trying to improve engagement so that UK and international artists and the music that we love can get more recognition.
This year the Bright Star Awards presentation will be taking place as a live presentation / show from a location in Central London. Winners will receive an engraved Bright Star Award. In addition the plan is for a worldwide live video stream of the event and simultaneous Outside Broadcast (OB) on Colourful Radio across DAB, web, mobile and all digital platforms of the event and artists receiving their awards.
We are currently finalising the categories, prior to nominations and voting. It is expected that there will be Ten (10) categories.
Best Male Artist (in association with…)
Best Female Artist (in association with…)
Best Band/Group (in association with…)
Best Soul/R&B Single (in association with…)
Best Soul/R&B Album (in association with…)
Best Reggae Single (in association with…)
Best Reggae Album (in association with…)
Best Home-Grown Artist (UK) (in association with…)
Best Live Experience (in association with…)
Lifetime Achievement (in association with…)
As you can see from the above list we are current looking for sponsors, partners and affiliates for the above categories.
We are looking to confirm sponsors, partners and affiliates by 5pm on Monday 23rd October 2017. If you would like to be part of this exciting Bright Star Awards 2017, please contact Sly directly.
In the meantime please be sure to like / follow on Facebook (BrightStarAwards), Twitter (@BrightStartAward) and Instagram (brightstaraward). The website will also be up soon.
This will be a major priority for me and the entire Bright Star Awards team, so we would appreciate as much support as possible.
The Simpkin Project
Orange county’s Simpkin Project are proud to announce the release date for their upcoming album Beam of Light. The six-piece band will release their fourth studio album on September 29, 2017 on VP Records’ Dub Rockers imprint. Pre-orders launch on August 11th.
The Simpkin Project plays a multi-faceted blend of reggae, blues, rock, and Americana, steeped in soulful harmonies that varies greatly on its exterior layers, but only atop the organic rhythms of reggae music. Their sound has been described as “uncompromising…blending authentic roots reggae rhythms with a wall-of-sound production style.” The lyrical compositions of frontman Phil Simpkin range “from the simply truthful to the stirringly anthemic.” The SoCal based band has devoted themselves to reggae since they came together in the early ought’s. Phil Simpkin and Shawn Taylor, co-lead vocalists, have been with the band since its inception when they opened for Steel Pulse, which somewhat unbelievably served as the band’s first live performance. As they said when they signed with VP Records/Dub Rockers, “We love reggae music period. What other genre of music exists solely as the vehicle that carries with it messages of peace, positive vibes, respect, love, empowerment and spiritualism?”
The recording of Beam of Light took place at Hughes Drive Productions, Shawn Taylor’s studio. The band used vintage amplifiers, mics, compressors and equalizers so they could achieve the classic sound they were going for, while still utilizing the best of what digital help has to offer. “Throughout this record we wanted each song to feature some unique sound or instrument that would distinguish it from all the other songs. We recorded old school Hammond organs and Leslie speakers, pianos and guitar amps, an assortment of timeless microphones, preamplifiers, custom compressors and one of a kind equalizers mixed by using some of the best analogue equipment available.”
The song writing process was equally as eclectic said Phil, “This album is our most collaborative effort yet. Every member of the band gave input and ideas on every track. It was also our first time working with an outside producer, Rellee Hayden (New Kingston, Gyptian, Etana), who collaborated on a number of tunes and added his ideas and expertise to the album.”
As for the album title, that was a no-brainer states the band, “We chose this title for a few reasons. First off, we have a song on the album called “Beam of Light,” which has proven to be a fan favourite when we perform it. The words are simple, but the message has many levels, so why not honour our fans by calling our album that? Just hearing the words “beam of light” creates an abundance of beautiful mental images that each person uniquely experiences. It reminds us that we are all connected by something bigger than ourselves.”
The first single from Beam of Light is “Hustling,” which Rootfire debuted in February, saying, “with each listen you’ll discover new layers of goodness and eclectic vibes.” The song features Courtney Panton, Jr. and Courtney Panton, Sr. of New Kingston on rums and bass. The band describes the track as “an ode to the daily grind,” which is certainly relatable! Another song gaining momentum is “Some Things Don’t Change,” a lively dance track that calls on people to be appreciative of what they have and embrace the moment. The harmonious “I’ll Be There,” a sweet and powerful love song, shows a little R&B flavour, and the band’s beautiful cover of Jimmy Cliff’s “Many Rivers to Cross,” completes with a choir at the end, achieved by overdubbing the combined voices of the three band members’ different takes.
As excited as The Simpkin Project is for people to hear Beam of Light – “(Listeners) will have countless new tones to explore and discover in which each successive listen reveals something previously unnoticed” – they’re really stoked to take the songs on the road. “Like every Simpkin release, the lyrical content is focused primarily on positivity, social consciousness, self-awareness and respect of others. Our shows are distinctive and different from what people hear on the album because we do a lot of improvisational jamming. Our fans really respond to what we bring to a live show, and it allows us to give the audience a very special musical experience.” Just like listening to Beam of Light.
Natalie ‘FLO’ Stewart
The creative writer, actress, performance poet and recording artist, Natalie ‘FLO’ Stewart, formerly known as ‘The Floacist’, the originator of the Floetic ethos of “Poetic Delivery with Musical Intent” and founding member of the legendary 8 time Grammy nominated UK Neo Soul duo, Floetry is back and living the Good Life.
With 3 critically acclaimed Floetry albums, followed by 3 successful solo Floacist projects under her belt, FLO released her summer feel good track ‘Good Life’ in August 2017, soon to be followed by her highly anticipated solo album, ‘True’, which is being prepped for release later this year.
FLO continues to be an ambassador of the spoken word and performance poetry community. In 2014 she launched FLO; a monthly spoken word vortex held every first Tuesday of the month at Rye Wax in Peckham, to give back to her fellow poet community.
Inspired by many lessons learnt and her own personal growth and journeying, FLO has truly come into her own, finding her voice and manifesting into an all-round artistic force. FLO brings the impacting, conceptual, poetic delivery with high, infectious energy to the stage. FLO continues to capture the hearts, minds and souls of audiences internationally.
Richell Bonner, better known as roots reggae singer, Richie Spice, was born in Rock Hall, St.
Andrew in Jamaica on September 8, 1971. Guided by the principles of his Rastafarian faith, Spice’s lyrics rail against injustices and the plight of the oppressed, implore assistance for the youth and extend maximum respect to women.
His ninth album entitled “The Album” will be released soon and will be made available on
most digital platforms.
The album boasts producers like Clive Hunt, Stephen Stanley and Snow Cone and features new tracks like the single “Where There is a Will”(that is already the subject of positive feedback), “Nuh leave mi” and “Dabbins”.
There are also plans to release another single and video for another cut called “California”. The 14-track album also features a number of quality cuts that include “Together We Stand”, “Sunny Day”, and “Teach It in the School”, a song that the singer says carries a special message.
A tour called “The Healing Tour” to help promote The Album is being planned for Europe beginning in August during which the singer and his band are expected to perform in Holland, Slovenia, Genava, Sweden, Germany, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, and Czech Republic over a six-to-eight-week period.
D a t e s f o r t h e t o u r c a n b e f o u n d o n R i c h i e S p i c e ’ s F a c e b o o k p a g e https://www.facebook.com/pg/RichieSpiceMusic/events
A tour of Africa, where Richie Spice enjoys a strong fan base, is being planned for November.
Richie Spice is from a family of singers and is brother to entertainers Pliers of Chaka Demus and Pliers fame; Spanner Banner and Snatcha Lion, all of whom carved respective niches in the reggae landscape internationally during the mid-1990s. During that period he gained extensive experience and popularity performing at major local music festivals like Reggae Sunsplash, White River Reggae Bash and Rebel Salute.
From 1996 to 1997, Richie Spice opened for the successful duo Chaka Demus and Pliers and Rita Marley. He also toured North-East United States from June to September 2001 and performed at Sting in 2002 as well as Sting Miami in 2003. Billboard Magazine ranked him among the top six performers at Reggae Sunsplash 2006.
Between 2012 and 2017, he embarked on tours to Europe, Africa and the Caribbean growing his fan base and increasing demand for his latest studio project.
Richie Spice released his first studio album Living Ain’t Easy in 1999. The album contained his first hit single Grooving My Girl. He followed up with Universal released on the Heartbeat label in 2000. The album featured what is perhaps his biggest hit Earth a Run Red.
However, the song didn’t break through until 2004 when he signed with 5th Element, a Kingston based management company/record label.
They launched a vigorous promotional campaign for “Earth a Run Red” in Jamaica
which resulted in the song’s steady rotation on the airwaves and in the dancehalls. A subsequent video directed by Ras Kassa brought even greater visibility to Spice’s career and it wasn’t long before he became one of the most sought after artists for stage shows across the island.
A third album, Spice in Your Life, was released by VP Records in 2006. In the Streets to Africa, also released by VP Records, dropped in 2007 and was followed by Gideon Boot in 2008. Book of Job was next in 2011. His last studio album – Richie Spice Acoustic – Soothing Sounds (2012), was released by Tad’s International.
From the collection of albums that spanned a decade, came a number of hit singles that helped enhance Richie Spice’s stock as a respected and celebrated roots-reggae act. They include his debut single Killing a Sound that was produced by Dennis Haynes. Living Aint Easy, Land of Jamaica, Time So Rough and The Plane Land, also emerged as successful singles during the period.
More recently, a remix of one of his more popular tracks, “Marijuana”, by Digital Mystikz’s Coki, renamed “Burnin'” has focused more attention to him in the blossoming dubstep scene in the United Kingdom. The original version of “Marijuana” also appears on the These Are Serious Times modern reggae compilation on XL Recordings.
His song “Youth Dem Cold” was featured on Grand Theft Auto IV’s Massive B Soundsytem 96.9 and the ending sound track of Attack the Block.
Richie Spice supports Food For the Poor (FFP) Jamaica, and gives a portion of the proceeds from his performances to the charity.
Hil St. Soul
Hilary Mwelwa moved from Lusaka, Zambia, to England when she was five years old — just in time for kindergarten. She studied biochemistry at the University of London, but a strong love for music pushed her to leave school and follow her heart.
An acappella demo of Stevie Wonder/Clarence Paul/Morris Broadnax’s “Until You Come Back to Me,” cut in 1995, started everything for the enthusiastic singer; she loved the song so much she waxed two versions for her debut CD, jointly written and produced with Victor Redwood Sawyerr (aka VRS, a founding member of Blak Twang), the other half of Hil St. Soul.
A singer of many styles, Mwelwa is comfortable performing classic soul, smooth jazz, uptempo funk, and gospel. Her versatility earned her the honor of Best Newcomer by the U.K.’s Blues & Soul magazine. She has performed at festivals in Holland, Norway, and England, sharing stages with urban kings and queens such as D’Angelo, Kelis, Macy Gray, and Angie Stone, to name a few. An accomplished and prolific songwriter, Incognito, Maysa Leak, and others have used her material.
Her style doesn’t lack drama, but she’s more subtle than demonstrative. Not as reclining as Sade, and not as overwhelming as Mica Paris, she’s found a comfortable niche that appeases classic soul fanatics canvassing for fresh R&B/pop janissaries without disenfranchising hip-hop lovers. She issued four albums during the 2000s: Soul Organic (2000), Copasetik & Cool (2004), Soulidified (2006), and Black Rose (2008).
CJ a.k.a. (CJ Joe)
CJ has performed in Japan, Jamaica, United States, Canada and the UK throughout his career. He is one of just a few Japanese Reggae international artists. His career is over 20 years known as the “Young Veteran”. He sings of course in Japanese, English & Jamaican Patois. CJ has been strictly influenced by Bob Marley, Garnet Silk, and Dennis Brown.
CJ has opened up in for various superstars in Japan, Jamaica, US and the UK. Also has worked with many Producers around the world.
CJ also represents building the bridges for Japan and to the world. Highlight performances were in Jamaica for the “Garnet Silk Tribute” 2003.
In 2008, CJ opened up for “Buju Banton” “Drive By US Tour” w/ Iwayne, Guidance etc in New York City. In Japan he has performed with music icons like
Johnny Osbourne, Yami Bolo, Brigadier Jerry, Admiral Tibet, Everton Blender and Rankin Joe.
He has various albums released in Japan.
CJ recorded as part of the “Voices Riddim” compilation album with his single “Mystic” alongside with artists such as Jah Mason and Turbulence. He was booked with Inner Circle, Turbulence Japan tour 2015 / Rankin Joe Japan tour 2015.
VP Records announces the completion of a new album deal with Grammy(R) winning R&B artist Estelle. The full length reggae album is scheduled for a fall 2017 release. The first single, ‘Love Like Ours’ featuring reggae star Tarrus Riley is available June 16th with a music video to follow.
The melodic and captivating ‘Love Like Ours’ gives fans a first taste of the upcoming album that will showcase the pivotal influence reggae music has had on the London, England born singer. Raised in a religious, Senegalese/ Grenadian household, Estelle’s musical upbringing included a variety of Afro-Caribbean, Gospel, Hip-Hop and dance styles with a healthy dose of reggae music.
Since 2008 and the release of the crossover radio hit “Come Over” featuring reggae star Sean Paul, produced by Supa Dups (Sean Paul, Drake, Party Next Door), fans have been encouraging Estelle to record a reggae album. This project will bring their desires to life with a unique fusion of lover’s rock, afro beats and dancehall flavors anchoring her soulful, R&B vocals. “When I told some friends about doing this album” said Estelle, “they were like – ‘finally!'” She continued, “everyone who knows me, understands the deep connection I have to reggae music.” Estelle has joined forces with Supa Dups again on this project and her fans excitement for the full album is brewing.
“Love Like Ours” draws you in with smooth guitar and keyboard hooks and keeps the listener engaged with upbeat, feel good lyrics. “The song is shaping up to be the lover’s anthem of the summer” said VP records President Randy Chin.
Estelle’s performing credits include multiple nominations and a Grammy(R) win for “American Boy,” her collaboration with Kanye West, The number one radio record anthem ‘Thank You’, a number one hit on the Billboard Top 200 with ‘Conqueror’, the epic duet with Jussie Smollet and a recurring cameo role on the Fox Network series Empire. She is also a featured character role on the Cartoon Network series Steven Universe.
Estelle has shown a wide and expanding range of talent and with this album, will complete the musical circle, showcasing one of her earliest musical influences. The singer concluded, “I’m happy to give the people what they have been asking for and I’m proud to share another piece of my life and art with the world.”
Tom Glide & Chidi
Tom Glide & Chidi interview on Colourful Radio 11-June-2017
Songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Tom Glide has assembled an ideal host of defined female vocalists for his sophomore collection, Divas Got Soul. Backed by solid, danceable grooves which fuse hearty rhythm sections fused with appealing programming work, each of the 10 divas display a knack for keeping it in the pocket while not shying away from letting loose with colorful flair.
Opening with the fly and jazzy, funky and hyped-up “Strong Feelings,” Divas Got Soul immediately sets into driving mode with a charging beat, saucy synth work from Ivan Russo and coolly situated trombone fills by Annie Whitehead complementing Tracy Hamlin’s vibrantly assertive vocal delivery. Confronting the realities of a soured relationship while accepting the hold brought on by its corresponding memories, the straight-shooting lyrics have a fire that meshes well with the dynamic instrumentation. Just as the track is of a considerably different nature than much of the material that the Pieces of a Dream vocalist has fronted over the past decade and a half, the subsequent mellow house groove “Soul Train” lets much-loved British neo-soul duo Hil St. Soul shine in a contrasting light.
Keeping the pace steady, prominent garage house chanteuse Stephanie Cooke stays true to form on “Light up the Sky,” while Kenya provides sultry vibes on the laid back and atmospheric “True Fantasy.” Meanwhile, Nia Simmons offers a contemplative and endearing performance on the set’s midpoint slow-jam, “My Time (Shine).” “All that I want, all that I need can be mine/But I’ve gotta stop wastin’ time, I’m determined to shine,” she relays with authentic understatement. It should be noted here that all of the featured artists co-wrote their respective cuts with Glide—resulting in a well-rounded palette of full-bodied musical flavors throughout.
The quest for and achievement of simple joys is a premise that runs through Divas Got Soul from start to finish. While many moments are celebratory, there are several reality checks interspersed on the journey to happiness. Aside from the aforementioned “Strong Feelings,” the nostalgia-laced “Old Skool Dayz” references both the musical and cultural qualities missing from this ultra-digital age we live in and the painstaking economic challenges so many of us face after hitting roadblocks during adulthood: “Now it’s all just an uphill climb/I’m payin’ bills and I’ve got no spare time…Hate to admit I need more joy in my life/To loose myself from the ties that bind.” Chidi, who previously worked her magic on Cool Million’s “Take Me Home,” conveys the yearning for a more personal connection to the world through her narrative of these hardships and even the simple pleasures like “Bazooka Joe’s wrapped round a bubble gum/My 45’s and LP vinyl’s on…and the ice cream van was always playin’ my song.”
Closing out the album, Candace Woodson serves up a fine helping of sophistication on the romantic “Where You Are,” followed by a fittingly soft-toned, yet groovy stepper, “Tribute to the Music (Extended Jam),” led by Gina Carey’s refined pipes.
Borrowing from the rich traditions of classic Soul music and blending a fusion of Rock & Pop, CHIDI delivers her own brand of UK Soul.
Her musical journey began as part of a national Gospel choir supporting major Gospel artists such as Fred Hammond, Kirk Franklin, and Mary Mary. She has shared the stage with some big names; Stevie Wonder and Pixie Lott to name a few and also been a backing singer for the ‘Queen of Disco’ Ms. Gloria Gaynor.
She emerged on the UK Soul scene in ‘09 with the underground smash hit ‘Wrong Again’ from her debut album ‘UnRehearsed’. Closely followed by a second studio album entitled ‘EXHALE’ which included the incredible break out hit ‘Someone’ a sassy funk track which still features heavily on urban radio stations.
Now she’s back on the scene in collaboration with the infamous Tom Glide on the ‘Divas Got Soul’ compilation with an upbeat Summer jam that shows her versatility as a songwriter whilst keeping with the Old Skool Soul vocals she has become known for.
With her natural bubbly nature she has a delightful ability to put her audience at ease and convey the message of a song with great intensity and sincerity, definitely one to watch out for.
On 9th June, 2017, Imagination Feat. Leee John will release ‘Retropia’ on Cristal Records, the group’s first album release since 2013’s ‘Flashback – The Very Best of Imagination’.
Billed as the group’s penultimate album, ‘Retropia’ features the unmistakable vocals of Leee John set against Imagination’s equally distinctive combination of retro soul, funk and jazz.
Since first lighting up the charts during the 1980s and selling over 30 million records thanks to an impressive run of hits such as ‘Body Talk’, ‘Just An Illusion’, ‘Flashback’, ‘Music & Lights’ and ‘Changes’, the multi-award-winning British soul group’s lead vocalist/songwriter Leee John has enjoyed throughout the years a prolific career as a solo artist, collaborator, songwriter, producer and, more recently, a filmmaker.
And after such a long wait for ‘Retropia’ Leee says fans can expect one more Imagination album: “I always knew ‘Retropia’ was going to eventually happen one day, I just didn’t realise there would be such a long period of time over the years in between. As soon as we finished recording this album it became obvious to me we have one more to go, so I’m now in the unusual position of knowing this is Imagination’s penultimate album.”
The recording process for ‘Retropia’ would become a vital catharsis for Leee, who was coming to terms with the death of his sister Linda and three close friends in the space of a year. Leee said, “I felt like I was in emotional whirlpool; trying to deal with all these deaths and supporting my family, especially my mother who’d lost a daughter, and my best friend’s daughters who’d now lost both parents.”
Understandably, recording the vocals in such circumstances was emotionally demanding. Leee said, “There are several songs on the album that remind me of my sister, including the song ‘Brighter Day’ which I wrote in Munich on the day she had her accident and subsequently passed away 24 hours later. I couldn’t listen to the song – much less sing it – without thinking of her, but I somehow found the inner-strength to realise what I had written was uplifting and had a spiritual sense of dealing with life’s trials. It took so much of my strength to perform it.”
Produced in London in LJ Studios with long-time associate producer/engineer Dee Vaz, and mixed by François Gaucher at Alhambra Studios in Rochford, France, Leee produced, arranged, wrote and co-wrote all the songs on ‘Retropia’, except for the album’s four covers versions: Eddie Kendrick’s ‘Tell Her Love Has Felt The Need’, Junior Murvin’s ‘Police and Thieves’ (a secret bonus track which was co-produced with Dennis Bovell), a collaboration with the Gibson Brothers and acclaimed British blues guitarist Mark Vandergucht on AC/DC’s ‘Highway To Hell’, and another collaboration on Stevie Wonder’s ‘Visions’ with Level 42’s Mike Lindup, which was recorded for the charity SOS Children, of which Leee has been a Patron for the past 18 years.
The album’s co-writes arrive in the form of British R&B group Loose Ends’ keyboard player Steve Nichols on ‘Do It Right Now’ and ‘Secrets’ (which also features Incognito’s Jean Paul ‘Bluey’ Manuck on guitar) and Toby Baker on ‘Make Your Mind Up’.
With Retropia dedicated to Imagination’s fans around the world, the set also includes songs which Leee has performed on stage live but, surprisingly, has never placed on any album until now. These songs include ‘Utopia’, ‘Make Your Mind Up’ and ‘Fantasia’, which became an underground classic when Leee put it out in the early ‘90s as a white-label obscurity under the name Johnny X.
Looking ahead to the album’s release, Leee said, “The recording of Retropia got me through a very dark time and gave me the strength to keep in our hearts the spirit of those who are no longer with us. Each song creates a tapestry of time, and the music and the melodies will live on long after we are gone.”
London soul singer Melisa Whiskey dropped her first track ‘Played’ in January this year. The natural soul and depth of Melisas vocal was too strong to deny.
Now Melisa comes through with her follow up track ‘Sweetest Cake’ and once again sets a notable bar for emerging UK soul and R&B. The first track to be taken from her forthcoming debut E.P. ‘Moon & The Sky’, the natural jump to the track mixed with the menacing bassline reminds of both Amerie and most excitingly, the playful invention of Anderson. Paak.
Melisa’s influences range from the likes of Lauryn Hill to Sade to Amy Winehouse, but maintains an innate natural charisma and charm all her own. Produced by Osinachi Nwaneri (Wale, J. Cole, Tinashe), Melisa brings an unmistakably exciting and vibrant 2nd offering to cement her status as a bonafide emerging star.
Speaking on the track, Melisa states: ‘Sweetest Cake is all about feeling good about yourself, reminding yourself of how fly you are regardless of what anything or anyone may want you to feel.’
Keni Stevens interview on Colourful Radio 21-May-2017
‘Out Of The Blue’ marks the long awaited return to the world stage for British soul singer Keni Stevens.
Keni Stevens turned the Brit soul scene upside down by daring to move away from ‘the dance beat’ with his debut album Blue Moods. Blue Moods topped the soul charts in the mid 80’s and became a landmark album of ballads selling over 150,000 copies in the UK alone.
This latest work ‘Out Of The Blue’ comes completely ‘out of the blue’. The production expertly crafted by musician producer Mx-Ze pulls from classic and contemporary soul, setting up a classy mid tempo backdrop for Keni to deliver in his unmistakable dark smokey style.
Songs are about life, love and relationships taking us on a journey through emotions and feelings we have all touched upon as our lives have unfolded, with its inevitable, twists, turns, ups and downs.
Stevens is the son of a US serviceman, and began his career working in a record shop, selling deleted catalogues of soul and lovers rock, rock steady and reggae music. His first move into music came in the mid 1970s, when he joined as lead singer for the group Raw Energy. Raw Energy members included Alan Cooke (now a British actor starring in London Bridge) and Peter Hinds (who went on to play keyboards for 1980s Brit funk band Light of the World). Raw Energy were signed to Conflict Records, but disbanded after 18 months of playing gigs up and down the country.
Stevens was taken on as A&R man for Conflict Records, and being responsible for releasing lovers rock and rock steady music by artists such as Gregory Isaacs in the UK. Stevens also worked as a session singer with Eddy Grant and Marianne Faithfull, before signing to the Elite label as a solo artist in 1985.
Blue Moods Period
Stevens released two singles on Elite Records in 1985, “Night Moves” and “All Day All Night”, which were played by specialist UK radio stations. This led to interest in his work, although he was initially mistaken for being a US artist. Polygram offered Stevens a £2.5 million recording contract, which he declined feeling it would threaten his independence.
Staying with Elite Records, Stevens recorded his debut album, Blue Moods. Two singles, “Too Much Too Soon” (on Elite Records) and “Cannot Live Without Your Love” (on the newly formed Jam Today label) were released as 12-inch singles, before Blue Moods appeared on Jam Today in 1987. “Cannot Live Without Your Love” was featured on several soul compilation albums, such as Upfront 6 (on Serious Records).
Blue Moods sold over 150,000 copies in the UK alone, and over a million worldwide. Stevens appeared on a few television shows to promote the album, including, Solid Soul. He released a further two albums, You and Living on the Edge, on Debut Records.
Hailing from Chicago, IL, Chantae Cann is a phenomenal vocalist that is beautiful on and off the stage. She has performed as a background vocalist for many artists including Leon Timbo, Darlene McCoy, PJ Morton, Gramps Morgan of Morgan Heritage and India.Arie. While working with these artists she has had the amazing chance to travel the world doing what she loves and has been inspired to branch out into her own solo career.
Now residing in Atlanta, GA her debut album “Journey To Golden” created a buzz when released in 2016.
The Atlanta Soul Vocalist performs her debut UK show on Wednesday 12th April 2017 at 229 The Venue | 229 Great Portland Street, London, W1W 5PN.