Interviews

ABOVE... BELOW... AND ABOUT WITH ANTHONY DAVID ...

Tuesday, 15 February 2011 19:49 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

anthony_davidWith two fine albums under his belt Atlanta-based ANTHONY DAVID has won a reputation as a concerned and committed soul singer. His writing skills and understated delivery has made many draw a comparison with BILL WITHERS, but ANTHONY is quickly proving he can be his own man. Moreover, PRESIDENT OBAMA has recently admitted that MR DAVID is on his radar – "You know I have actually been listening to some neo-soul. The First Lady turned me onto ANTHONY DAVID – he's got some nice music". With a new album set for release – 'As Above So Below' - we needed to talk with ANTHONY to find out more that "nice music" – and of course that OBAMA connection.... we began, though, by asking MR.D. about how he got into music.....

I've always been a writer, and music became a way I could express myself. I got involved in the poetry scene here in Atlanta first, then music became an expansion of that. I'm a communicator first and foremost.

Briefly update us on your CV – how you got from where you started to where you are now.....

I did two independent albums, '3 Chords And The Truth' and 'Red Clay Chronicle'. They were released in the States and abroad. Then Universal combined the two and named the new set 'Acey Duecy'. My single 'Words', a duet with INDIA ARIE, a good friend and collaborator for years, got nominated for a Grammy. I then left Universal for Purpose Music group in 09 and began work on my current album, 'As Above So Below'.

Though you're from Savannah, you work out of Atlanta ... why do you think the city has such a vibrant and exciting soul scene?

It's a great place because people are allowed to cultivate their talent here, and there are plenty of people who will support them, even without having a big name.

Many commentators – even PRESIDENT OBAMA - describe the soul sounds of Atlanta as "nu-soul" or "neo soul" – what exactly do you up think they mean by that?

It's not just music from Atlanta, it's the music of this period in time – where we are now. I think it's all about the influence of hip-hop music combined with traditional soul sounds.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 March 2011 10:17

 

FLORENCE BALLARD AND ME: A LEAP OF FAITH – SJF TALKS TO FAITH EVANS

Tuesday, 21 December 2010 16:25 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

Faith_picAfter a five-year hiatus from the recording scene – a period of time that would be tantamount to career suicide for many artists in the 'here today, gone tomorrow' world of urban music – 37-year-old flame-haired FAITH EVANS is back with a fine new album, 'Something About Faith,' released on her own label, E-One Music. Despite her musical silence – which she says is partly due to the birth of her fourth child - Faith hasn't been totally inactive during the last few years. In 2008, she wrote her autobiography, 'Keep The Faith: A Memoir,' a candid confessional which made the New York Times bestseller list and kept her name in the headlines. She's also been busy at the reins of her new independent label, which she created after deciding to leave Capitol Records following the release of 2005's 'A Faithful Christmas.' SJF's Charles Waring recently talked to Faith about her new album – which features cameos from Snoop Dogg, Kelly Price, Jessica Reedy, and Keyshia Cole – and also asked her about her upcoming acting role in a new Hollywood movie about tragic Supreme, Florence Ballard...

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 December 2010 10:16

 

LET THE SUNSHINE IN……SJF TALKS TO GOLDEN GIRL SUNSHINE ANDERSON

Thursday, 16 December 2010 08:29 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

Sunshine-Anderson-09222010Back in 2001, sassy North Carolina singer Sunshine Anderson arrived like a breath of fresh air on the R&B scene with her infectious single, the anthemic 'Heard It All Before,' which topped Billboard's urban charts for over a month. The track came from her strong debut album for Atlantic, 'Your Woman,' expertly helmed by Mike City, a west coast songwriter/producer who had discovered Anderson when the singer was in her late teens.

But despite the success that followed her first long player, Anderson inexplicably fell off the R&B radar, only surfacing some six years later, with a largely-ignored sophomore set, 'Sunshine At Midnight' in 2007. Dispirited and frustrated by her experience in the music business, Anderson - who's also a graduate in criminal law – began studying cosmetology in her native Charlotte (the North Carolina town that also gave the world Jodeci, Anthony Hamilton and Tweet) with a view to staring her own business. Thankfully, in 2010 music intervened – she signed a new deal with mentor Mike City through major label Verve Forecast - and Anderson's aspirations of opening a beauty salon have been put on the back burner...for now, at least.

Her third album, the positively-titled 'The Sun Shines Again,' has just been released and reminds soul folks why her debut was so eagerly greeted almost a decade ago. The singer recently chewed the fat with SJF's Charles Waring and talked about her life and the ups and downs of her career....

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 December 2010 17:18

 

THE REAL McKOY... NOEL SPEAKS

Monday, 08 November 2010 18:59 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

noelnewSouth London's NOEL MCKOY is a true UK soul hero... sadly, though, many of his achievements go unsung. Maybe things are set to change with his latest album, 'Brighter Day' now making big waves. Success, though, has not been an overnight thing. NOEL'S soul odyssey, you see, began in earnest back in the late 80s when he recorded with his three siblings under the obvious name, McKOY. Prior to that he'd dabbled in reggae and rock but the recordings with McKOY led to high profile work with the JAMES TAYLOR QUARTET, JULIET ROBERTS, MICA PARIS, BEVERLY KNIGHT and EBONY ALLEYNE. In the meantime NOEL also developed his own solo work and recorded acclaimed sets 'Mind Is The Keeper' and 'Please Take This Personal'.

More collaborations followed – notably with THE SOUNDS OF BLACKNESS, NU COLOURS, SNOWBOY, MARK MORRISON, OMAR, COURTNEY PINE and LINTON KWESI JOHNSON. Why, NOEL even became a back up vocalist for SIR CLIFF RICHARD who said of him, "His voice soars above many of his contemporaries and his ability to incorporate moods into his songs is a very special talent". Through all this NOEL also ran his own night club, The Dutch Pot, and his own record label. Last year he released that new solo album – 'Brighter Day', which is being re-promoted on the back of some great remixes and after headlining at the JAZZ CAFE in a special AL GREEN tribute night , SJF caught up with the ever-busy McKOY to find out more about that album ... an unashamed celebration of old school soul. We wanted to know was that the prime intention....

Most definitely I've always wanted to record an album fusing all of the great soul genres and this was my chance to do just that.  

 

Last Updated on Monday, 08 November 2010 19:12

 

A CAPTIVATING MARRIAGE OF JAZZ AND SOUL – SINGER/SONGWRITER ZENA JAMES TALKS

Friday, 15 October 2010 13:55 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

Zena_bigAlthough West Country-born singer/songwriter ZENA JAMES (who grew up just outside Bath) studied languages during her time as a student (she read German and Russian alongside linguistics at the University of Surrey), these days her mind is focused on becoming fluent in an altogether different kind of language - a universal one called music.

The daughter of a keen guitar player, Zena was raised on a diet of '70s pop and soul as a youngster and harboured aspirations of being a singer. That was put on hold until 2003 when Zena – who was earning a living working for a public relations company - sent a demo tape in to Jazz FM. When it received a favourable response, she was determined to pursue a career in music and eventually her perseverance paid off with a record deal.

In 2007, Zena's debut platter, 'Tell Me More,' was released via indie label, Jazzizit, and garnered encouraging praise from not only some of the nation's specialist magazines but also from a UK broadsheet or two. Now, three years later, the young singer is back with her sophomore set, 'Captivated,' which stylistically melds the sophistication of jazz with the emotional directness of soul music. Thanks to Zena's emotive voice plus the work of her supporting musicians and guiding hand of producer, Derek Nash, it proves a compelling combination, which is made more potent by a soupçon of funk flavouring thrown into the mix to spice up the album's grooves. Zena's choice of material, too, is similarly eclectic; she applies a contemporary makeover to a mixture of jazz standards and vintage songs but also includes her own versions of songs penned by Stevie Wonder and the UK blue-eyed soul man, Lewis Taylor. She also penned a couple of songs herself – the opening title track and 'You Move Me,' both co-written with pianist Rob Taggart.

SJF's Charles Waring recently talked to Zena about her new album, which is released in December 2010 via Splash Point Digital...

 

Last Updated on Friday, 15 October 2010 14:17

 

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