Tagged with "eighties"
Elegant, exotic and gorgeous, Sade is one of the greatest soul singers of the 80ís and beyond
Category: Voices of Jazz
Tags: sade soul singer eighties topic discussion word life production feature blog

Soldier of Love is only the sixth studio album the band Sade have released during their 25 year career, and the first since Lovers Rock in 2000. For Sade herself, as the lynchpin of the group's songwriting effort, it's a simple matter of integrity and authenticity. "I only make records when I feel I have something to say. I'm not interested in releasing music just for the sake of selling something. Sade is not a brand."†

†The call went out in 2008 for the group to re-convene at Peter Gabriel's Real World studio, near Sade's home in the countryside of south west England. It was the first time the four principals had met up since the Lovers Rock tour wrapped in 2001. Bassist Paul Denman de-camped from Los Angeles, where he had been managing his teenage son's punk band, Orange. Guitarist and sax player Stuart Matthewman interrupted his film soundtrack work in New York, and keyboardist Andrew Hale gave up his A&R consultancy.†

In a series of fortnightly sessions at Real World, Sade sketched out the material for a new album which, they all felt, was probably their most ambitious to date. In particular, the sonic layering and martial beats of the title track, Soldier Of Love, sounded quite different from anything they had previously recorded. According to Andrew Hale: "The big question for all of us at the beginning was, did we still want to do this and could we still get along as friends?" The answer soon came back as a passionate affirmative.†

The album was completed in the summer of 2009, mainly at Real World. The feel of the music this time had moved away from the old country soul styling of Lovers Rock and assumed a more eclectic identity. At times the band sounded like the original Sade, with Matthewman back blowing soft sax on In Another Time and the vocal on Long Hard Road hymning. But with songs such as the joyously quirky reggae chant Babyfather, and the dramatically arranged album opener The Moon and the Sky, Sade were exploring new territory. "I never want to repeat myself," Sade herself says. "And that becomes a more interesting challenge for us the longer we carry on together."†

†Helen Folasade Adu was born in Ibadan, Nigeria. Her father was Nigerian, a university teacher of economics; her mother Anne was an English nurse. The couple met in London while he was studying at the LSE and moved to Nigeria shortly after getting married. When their daughter was born, nobody locally was prepared to call her by her English name, and a shortened version of Folasade stuck. Then, when she was four, her parents separated, and her mother brought Sade and her elder brother Banji back to England, where they initially lived with their grandparents just outside Colchester, Essex.†

†She listened to American soul music, particularly the wave led in the 1970's by artists such as Curtis Mayfield, Donny Hathaway, and Bill Withers. As a teenager, she saw the Jackson 5 at the Rainbow theatre in Finsbury Park, where she worked behind the bar at weekends. "I was more fascinated by the audience than by anything that was going on on the stage. They'd attracted kids, mothers with children, old people, white, black. I was really moved. That's the audience I've always aimed for."†

†Music was not her first choice as a career. She studied fashion at St Martin's School Of Art and only began singing after two old school friends with a fledgling group approached her to help them out with the vocals.†

Somewhat to her surprise, she found that while the singing made her nervous, she enjoyed writing songs. Two years later she had overcome her stage fright and was regularly singing back up with a North London Latin funk band called Pride. "I used to get on stage with Pride, like, shaking. I was terrified. But I was determined to try my best, and I decided that if I was going to sing, I would sing the way I speak, because it's important to be yourself."†

Sade served a long apprenticeship on the road with Pride. For three years, from 1981, she and the other seven members of the band toured the UK, often with her driving. Pride's shows featured a segment in which Sade fronted a quartet that played quieter, jazzier numbers. One of these, a song called Smooth Operator, which Sade had co-written herself, attracted the attention of record company talent scouts. Soon, everybody wanted to sign her, but not the rest of Pride. Obstinately loyal to her friends in the group, Sade refused to depart. 18 months later she relented and signed to Epic records - on condition that she took with her the three band mates who still comprise the entity known as Sade: saxophonist Stuart Matthewman, keyboard player Andrew Hale, and bassist Paul Denman.†

Sade's first single, Your Love Is King, became a top 10 British hit in February 1984, and with that her life, and that of the band, changed forever. The unstressed, understated elegance of the music in conjunction with her look - unspecifically exotic and effortlessly sophisticated - launched Sade as the female face of the style decade. Magazines queued to put her on the cover. "It wasn't marketing," she says, wearily. "It was just me. And I wasn't trying to promote an image."†

At the time of her first album, Diamond Life, her actual life was anything but diamond-like. Sade was living in a converted fire station in Finsbury Park with her then boyfriend, the style journalist Robert Elms. There was no heating, which meant that she had to get dressed in bed. The loo, which used to ice over in winter, was on the fire escape. The bath was in the kitchen. "We were freezing, basically." For the remainder of the 1980's, as the first three albums sold by the million around the world, Sade toured more or less constantly. For her this remains a point of principle. "If you just do TV or video then you become a tool of the record industry. All you're doing is selling a product. It's when I get on stage with the band and we play that I know that people love the music. I can feel it. Sometimes I yearn to be on the road. The feeling overwhelms me."†
Intrusive media interest in her private life has inspired a continuing reluctance on her part to participate in the promotional game. Having been travestied in print on many occasions, Sade rarely gives interviews. "It's terrible this Fleet Street mentality that if something seems simple and easy, there must be something funny going on."†

†For most of the past 20 years, Sade has prioritised her personal life over her professional career, releasing only three studio albums of new material during that period. Her marriage to the Spanish film director Carlos Scola Pliego in 1989; the birth of her daughter in 1996 and her early 21st century move from North London to rural Gloucestershire, where she now lives with a new partner, have consumed much of her time and attention. And quite rightly so. "You can only grow as an artist as long as you allow yourself the time to grow as a person," Sade says. "We're all parents, our lives have all moved on. I couldn't have made Soldier of Love any time before now, and though it's been a long wait for the fans - and I am sorry about that - I'm incredibly proud of it."

Source: Official Website: http://www.sade.com/us/biography/

Angela Winbush is one of the greatest soul artists of the 80's
Category: Voices of Jazz
Tags: Angela winbush classic artists eighties word life production topic discussion feature blog

Singer/songwriter/keyboardist/producer Angela Winbush's credentials include her own solo hits such as her number one R&B hit, "Angel"; hits as one-half of the singing duo Rene & Angela and their hits "Save Your Love (For #1)" and "Your Smile"; and her hits by Stephanie Mills and the Isley Brothers. One Rene & Angela hit, the 1983 ballad "My First Love," was covered by Avant on his spring 2000 debut CD, My Thoughts. Winbush's own albums are Sharp, Angela Winbush, and It's the Real Thing. Besides Rene Moore, Winbush's early collaborators were Moore's brother, Rufus, bassist Bobby Watson, engineer/producer Bruce Swedien, and George Duke.

Born in St. Louis, MO, Winbush grew up singing gospel music in the church choir and learned to play piano as a child. She had no intentions of pursuing a professional music career when she began attending Washington, D.C.'s Howard University majoring in architecture. To earn money to pay expenses, she began singing on recording sessions and formed a singing trio that opened for Van McCoy and Al Jarreau. She became interested in the music business and changed her major to music education.

Around 1977, Winbush sent a demo tape to New York DJ Gary Byrd. He played it over the phone for his friend Stevie Wonder. He called Winbush and invited her to Los Angeles. While singing in Wonder's backup band Wonderlove, Winbush learned about writing and producing by sitting in on sessions with Wonder. In 1980, she met singer/songwriter Rene Moore through Wonderlove vocalist Carolyn Dennis and they began writing songs together, eventually forming the duo Rene & Angela. In 1978, former Tower of Power lead singer Lenny Williams recorded one of their songs, "Changes." A friend introduced the duo to Dr. Cecil Hale, a Capitol Records executive who signed the duo to the label. Two LPs were issued, Wall to Wall and Rise. Another Rene & Angela song, the ballad "I Have Learned to Respect the Power of Love," was recorded by Alton McClain and Destiny on their self-titled 1978 Polydor LP. It can be found on Polygram's Power of Love: Best of Soul Essentials Ballads. In 1985, Rene & Angela signed with Polygram and were assigned to their Mercury imprint. Their label debut, Street Called Desire, went gold, yielding the number one hits "Save Your Love (For #1)," which featured a rap by Kurtis Blow, and "Your Smile." An earlier Rene & Angela song would resurface in a big way. The first single from Stephanie Mills' 1985 Stephanie Mills album was "Stand Back"; on its flip side was her passionate cover of "I Have Learned to Respect the Power of Love." Because of its massive radio play as an album track, Mills' version, produced by Philly Soul keyboardist Ron Kersey, was reissued as an A-side and held the number one spot for two weeks in spring 1986.

By 1987, Winbush was solo and got her first production job on the Isley Brothers' Smooth Sailing LP after the group's lead singer, Ronald Isley, mentioned to Warner Bros. records executive Benny Medina that he wanted to work with the group who did "Your Smile." After working together, Isley became the singer's manager. Becoming romantically involved, Winbush married Ronald Isley on June 26, 1993. She produced and wrote the bulk of his solo debut, Spend the Night, credited as the Isley Brothers Featuring Ronald Isley. Winbush's other credits include the platinum Isley Brothers album Mission to Please, Body, Lalah Hathaway, the 1982 self-titled debut of Plush, Klymaxx, Sheena Easton's The Lover in Me, and the 1993 Warner Bros. various artists set, A Tribute to Curtis Mayfield. ~ Ed Hogan, Rovi

Source: MTV http://www.mtv.com/artists/angela-winbush/biography/

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