- Category: Music
- Written by Erol Özberk
>> Photo by Derek Muehl
So what happens when you take an L.A. born musical talent and toss her into the mix of the New Orleans jazz scene? Simply put: one part hip-hop and one part jazz with a splash of homegrown southern soul. That’s right, she hails from the south. What’s more, her lyrical prowess, combined with harmonic sensitivity, exudes the type of confidence required to heat up the northern nightclub scene.
Top drawer: Voice makes a smashingly brilliant debut! Right from the get-go, the first track of her latest release, Gumbo , sets an unprecedented tone. It stimulates. It pacifies. It rocks, surges and defies contemporary sound. Without going overboard, Voice provides a feel good echo that can loosen up any stiff-backed, turtle-necked crowd. No doubt here, once the first oscillating wave greets your senses, you will be moved.
AfroToronto caught up with the “Diva to be” for a quick coffee break between photo shoots and radio interviews. Immediately, one gets the sense of this woman’s powerful presence which is far from offsetting. Perhaps best described as calm, cool and collected, she exudes the type of artistic understanding of the world, rare among today’s emerging vocalists. In a snapshot: she came up to Toronto in 2001 where she hooked up with Canadian Production Executive Moonstarr and pitched the idea of working a full-length project and thus, Gumbo was born.
>> Photo by Derek Muehl
In her own words, “ Gumbo really is a stew.” working on the project all over the place and almost all of the time. It started in the Bronx, where Moonstarr met her for some initial recordings. Then they hopped the boarder and put down some more tracks in Toronto, before skipping over to L.A. for a spell, only to finish things up in New Orleans. Still with me? Right. So, just to recap, recording the album went down in New York, Toronto, L.A. and New Orleans. Et voila! Gumbo – fitting, non?
A little bit about the artist’s views on things local. She really appreciates the Toronto crowd, going so far as to describe it as, “pretty hype!” Her goal here is to make her music “more approachable” in the sense that she tends to pack a lot into a single bar or verse – no joke, she’s got a lot to say that’s worth hearing. On the topic of a European vs. North American crowd she agrees we do it better.
Her advice to up and coming artists here at home, “Really evaluate what you want and what you want to achieve as an artist. If it’s about making a lot of money then by all means mainstream is the way to go; but, if it’s about retaining creative control, then really weigh out your options.” Voice’s bottom line: “As an independent artist, you gotta know your business and you gotta be about your business.” Snap!
Voice’s Canadian tour kicked off in Toronto, on Friday February, 23 at the Rivoli. Needless to say, it went down without a hitch. She also has performances scheduled for Hamilton, Ottawa and Montreal. So forget the whored up dollies and faux thugs out there, this southern bell is all class. With over a dozen vibrant tracks, this album should easily make its way to the top of anyone’s cocktail party tunes list. Hell, it’s even available for download on iTunes. But why take someone else’s opinion when you can find out for yourself? Look, this isn’t rocket science, or learning to tie a double knot. Just click to www.myspace.com/voicey. Odds are you won’t be disappointed and if you are who cares, good for you.