As We Countdown To Groove Odyssey 3Rd Birthday Party Check This Interview From Our One Of Our Special Guest
Q: First of all how does it feel to be the vocalist on the classic hit "Heaven".. How did it came to be made and where you aware how special and influential it would be?
ANS: To be the vocalist on what has now become the definitive Club Classic that is “Heaven” is quite frankly an honor. It has fulfilled one of my core values which is always to produce music that is “timeless” thus have longevity. HEAVEN - was released in the late 80’s / early 90’s and is still a favorite in many DJs Box today. On my new up and coming album, still a work in progress, I plan to re release it in an entirely different genre.
I don’t ever want to compete with that classic production that Mike Peden and James Locke did. The Funky Drummer, the Base Line, the Piano. The music is “alive ” which is why I think we jelled and morphed into a band now known as the [THE CHIMES]
When Mike and James searched the UK for a singer to create the CHIMES, I think that basically they just wanted a pretty girl to front the band who could sing well and they would write and produce the material.
Based on the Demos they received from other singers they had spent a lot of time and money flying girls back and forth to Scotland. By the time they got to me, they were exasperated. It seem that what they were really looking for was a “Powerful Soulful Singer Songwriter, with Vocal Range, Versatility, Depth and Interpretation
that brought an entirely new dimension to their ideas such that I soon became one third writer on the Album.
Prior to this I had spent years training my voice with various teachers, and was already affiliated as lead singer writing songs with other bands. In a years stay in America I was taught by a Colombian Opera singer first and was one of the best in my opinion. She taught me how to “Breath” and get power and range by singing from the diaphragm.
Mike and James recognized that I was different from the Get Go. After they made me do my audition on the phone. I sang Chaka Khan ‘Aint NobodY” I belted it down the phone as if it was the most natural thing in the world. Based on that they booked a flight to Scotland. The rest is history.
So yes I am immensely proud to be the vocalist and co writer on HEAVEN. We are still talking about it in 2012. [THE CHIMES] and that Song in particular was to shape and Influence the UK RnB music scene.
Q: Are you looking forward to coming to play at the Groove Odyssey 3rd Birthday on September 29th alongside DJ Bigger and the other soul dj dons? How well do you know them and have you worked with them before ?
ANS: It will be a first for me at “Groove Odyssey” and I am really looking forward to celebrating their 3rd Birthday with the fantastic line up of DJs. Then there is our very own Bobby & Steve, and of course Louie Vega who may have done some mixes for us. DJ Bigger I have worked with in the past including his event “Smoove
Grooves” earlier this year. There are lot of familiar names as well as some I am not so familiar with, but I am definitely looking forward to sampling all the rooms as it is an amazing line up of both male and female DJs. On the night I will also be bringing my own DJ Don Gordon West to spin some beats on my new tracks.
Q: Is this your 1st show in London this year ? And what can we expect from your live show ?
ANS: Since appearing at the Jazz Cafe UK SOUL JAM, last year, my diary has been increasingly busier. I will be taking part in Bestial Isle of White this year, on 9th September with Emilee Sande’ and Stevie Wonder as headline act. I have also performed in Ireland this year.
The live shows at the moment are still based on the delivery of great soulful songs, but I am trying to find out more about myself and how I can push the boundaries to include comedy in my performances. Being humorous off stage is not the same as making people laugh professionally, so i am still toying with the idea. While I can’t make any promises about making people laugh, I can promise that you will be entertained from both my old and new songs.
Q: How does playing London compare to other countries and how do you feel about us as a city
ANS: There are few places I would rather be, and London is one of them. It is one of those melting pot of cultural diversity which has evolved into our music, giving Londoners plenty of choice. Arguably London is a tougher crowd to please. I have heard in the past of established stars getting booed off stage. It seem so irreverent, but it shows that Londoners take no prisoners. Thankfully I have paid my dues and now find the London crowd very supportive. I am humbled and truly thankful for all their support over the years and ongoing support even till today, as well as a new generation of people hearing and enjoying my music with fresh ears. It always gives me a big buzz when I hear my music blazing out of someones car or on the Radio or even better if im out in a club and I see people still vibing and dancing to my music. The Londoners that come to see me perform could well be the same people that bought my records and put me on the road to success. I never take that for granted. So with that in mind other countries always seem to be easier to please, because I think one of the reasons fans abroad show enthusiasm even more, is when they know you have travelled so far to perform for them. I am the same when my favourite acts come to the UK. I have been to foreign countries where they know all the lyrics to my songs yet they speak little or no English. That is heart warming and at times really touching. There is a whole lot of love out there.
Q: soul music is so much ingrained in British music, are there any UK artists whose music you feel a real affinity for or have worked with ?
ANS: UK artist I adore right now would be Emilee Sande’ for her amazing songwriting and vocal range and versatility, “Lamar” for his “soulful crooning” and besotting green eyes and Tiny T for his innovative approach to music. I would certainly say yes for the opportunity to work with Mavrick Sabre to name a few. One day I would love to do something with my peers Mica Paris and Beverly Knight too.
Q: What are your currently working on and do you have a song that you’re particularly proud of ? What do you see as the your greatest musical career highlights so far?
ANS: Currently I am finishing off songs for an EP coming out in September as a prelude to my new album also due out soon.To date I am very proud of the work I did with THE CHIMES, and each album subsequently has produced some classics like “Suga Free and “Feel Like Making Love”, but the world has never let me forget my famous rendition of the U2 classic “I Still Haven’t Found What I am Looking For”. It is played, a lot, and globally such that I suspect that Bono (U2) can retire now from the amount of air play our version receives. I have no choice but to be proud of this song especially when Bono himself gave me his personal blessing by saying ”at last someone who can sing this song”. In a recent comparison of the two versions, THE CHIMES piped U2 to the post. So yes I am immensely proud of that too, quite an accomplishment really as re-making classics regardless of genre is always risky. My greatest musical career highlight is the fact that I made a name for myself in the music industry with a solid pedigree of good music. Long may it continue. I live my life according to what I was born to do best and that is to create and perform music to the best of my ability, and in the process help others who love music just as much to do the same.
Q: What was your first break and first big record and did it set you on your path?
ANS: My big break came when we got signed to Columbia Records, now Sony BMG as THE CHIMES. While 1-2-3, HEAVEN and Underestimate did well, it was the the ennoble “I Still Haven’t Found” that rocketed us to the moon. I remember crying at the news that the song was No1 in various charts. I was actually quite scared at the time because I knew that everything as I knew it would never be the same. Our lives change drastically, our feet never touched the ground after that. From then on it was a a massive adjustment to success. After The CHIMES, I launched a successful Solo Career and here I stand today talking about running a label of my own. So yes, it definitely set me on my path.
Q: Where did you grow up and, how much of an influence did the neighbour hoods around you have on your path towards music? Were there any other major influences such as key people, DJ's, producers or clubs etc ?
ANS: I grew up in the idyllic lush green hills of Jamaica until I was about 8 yrs old. Reggae was my staple musical diet. Growing up in the UK, Dennis Brown, Bob Marley and Marcia Griffiths reigned supreme. Then came the great divide. You were either a “Soul Lover” or a Reggae lover. You had to choose, so I choose ‘Soul music”. With the likes of Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire, The Jones Girls and Marvin Gaye to name a few, it not hard to see why I chose Soul music. Some where deep within me I connected to Soul music. I never looked back and unfortunately have never had much to do, or had many opportunities to do Reggae music since . Though last year at the Jazz Cafe, I paid homage to Bob’s “Waiting In Vain”, “Exodus” and “Redemption Song”. It was a start. But all that will soon change. I intend to reconnect with with my reggae roots. As the saying goes- You can take the girl away from the reggae- But you can never take the reggae away from the girl.
Q: So what does the future hold for you?
ANS: This is really a very exciting time for me and my production team, award winning Gordon West and Nick Hussey. We are currently working on my album and starting a label at the same time. We also plan to develop and support musical talent and charitable organizations where possible. We want to give back to the industry in as many ways possible. I am working on a series of books for “Recording Artists” with the view to helping other through the quagmire that is the music industry especially in respects of Copyright. Unfortunately many recording artist know very little about it. This was also the position I found myself in throughout my career until I studied the this subject extensively. Coupled with my entrepreneurial drive, legal knowledge and industry experience I hope to be know as a business woman who now “Owns, Control and exploit all my Intellectual Property and want to educate others to do the the same. Who Knows, I would like to emulate other recording artist who now run very successful labels like “Jayz” “Fiddy” and “Usher”.
Q: And before you leave us, can you tell us something we don;t know about you? Any unusual hobbies, stories or fun stuff
ANS: Many people only know me as a singer, but in my absence form the stage I studied Law and also gained my Masters in Intellectual Property Law. Unusual hobbies range from being a qualified Chef, riding motor bikes, though since my daughter I prefer to drive, and I love to keep fit. My most memorable anecdote from the industry is when I met my musical Idle Chaka Kahn. HEAVEN was out at the time. She came up to me and said “is that you singing? You have an amazing voice”.. little did she know that I modelled my voice on her for years. She was wearing a very flamboyant frock, with netting and all sorts. We hugged when she turn to walk away, something on the dress caught my stocking and they were ripped to shreds with her being non the wiser. I didn’t mind one bit, I thought it was quite funny. After all how many people can say Chaka Kahn’s dress ripped their stockings? Ahh show biz ;-)
Q: do you also have best youtube clips/ podcast mix we can also use for promotion. many thanks Clips for new
ANS: Clips for new songs will be ready in September, but in the mean time Please see: