Originally released back in 1973 on the album "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road", the song "Bennie and The Jets" still stands out as one of the most popular from the whole Elton John repertoire. Since the LP has recently celebrated its 40th anniversay, what's more efficient than a remastered reissue to introduce this emblematic record to a younger audience ? Especially when a whole new generation of singers/songwriters is getting involved in this re-release through a 9 track bonus set of exclusive covers, starting with a rework of this classic crossover hit that was "Bennie and The Jets" (it peaked at 15 in what was called "Billboard Hot Soul Singles" charts at that time). Miguel's signature style (airy Soul music fused with Rock and Electro elements) works perfectly here and give a convincing contemporary twist to the track. Listen below.
It's been two years since Marsha Ambrosius sophomore record, "Friends & Lovers" has been put on hiatus. The former Floetry vocalist was expected to release the follow-up to "Late Nights & Early Mornings", her 2011 solo debut, back in 2012 when lead single "Cold War" was first launched. But the classical Soul/R&B ballad sounded a bit too typical to cause any thrill among listeners. Since then, the singer/songwriter unveiled another advance single, the Ne-Yo assisted, Soul infused downtempo "Without You", in the summer of 2013. But still no sign of any upcoming full length at that point. That was until Marsha caught her audience off guard by dropping an unexpected Sade classic cover on Valentine's eve. The tune, a rework of the band's 1988 hit "Love Is Stronger Than Pride", is given a smart, seductive oldschool Hip Hop twist, with the instrumental borrowed to Jeru The Damaja's "Come Clean".
This week has been massive music wise and I'll try my best to catch up on all the great releases we've been graced with these last few days, starting off with one of my favorite band, Danish duo Quadron. The pair, who's currently touring across the USA as opening act for singer Mayer Hawthorne, premiered last night the video for the graceful "Favorite Star", the latest offering from their critically acclaimed sophomore effort "Avalanche". Spellbinding lead singer Coco O. is again making wonders here, and delivers a divaesque, Beyoncé-like performance full of charm and sassiness, in the accompanying video that she also directed. A must watch !
Though she only made her TV debut last year when she appeared on season 2 of talent show The Voice, Australian born and French based songstress Rachel Claudio was already an established name on the Parisian indie Soul/Alternative Hip Hop circuit. The singer/songwriter is about to drop her latest EP, following the release of her 2013 "C.L.AUDIO TAPE". On the 8-track effort, untitled "Thrill Of The Game", she recorded, among other things, a duet with French phenomenon Ben l'Oncle Soul, who, himself, is expected to release his sophomore album - for which Rachel wrote a few songs - in the weeks to come.
Among all the newcomers to watch in 2014, one young artist to burst out from the prosperous UK Soul scene is surely destined to make an impact in the years to come. Her name is Sasha Keable, and though she 1st inked a deal with Tinie Tempah's independant imprint Disturbing London, she's signed in 2012 an impressive 5 album contract with Polydor Records. At age 19, the blonde siren first made her way into the airwaves last year, through collaborations with electro artists such as DJ/producer Zinc, and Garage/House duo Disclosure. Two months ago, she released her own material in the form of a 8 track digital EP, showcasing a musical spectrum that goes from cold, emotional alt-R&B to some soothing, downbeat Soul music, merged with 90's hip hop beats reminiscent of early Mary J. Blige. You can download Sasha Keable's "Black Book" EP for free on her website. The singer is currently working on her debut album with sought-after R&B producer Dev Hynes (Solange, MKS).
Better late than never, I'm eventually revising my judgement concerning Paloma Faith. I have to confess that, at first, I was puzzled by the singer's overly dramatic ways, her baroque style and musical quirkiness, that I found unattractive to say the least. That was before I learnt that the Londoner had started working with one of my all time favorites Raphael Saadiq. When I first heard their collaborative track, an heartwrenching ballad called "Love Only Gives You Lonely", it convinced me I should give the singer another chance, and not overlook her third album. Since then, Paloma released the first single off her brand new CD, this time under the guidance of producer extraordinaire Pharrell Williams. The funky piece is called "Can't Rely On You" and sounds just as something Janelle Monae could have recorded for her own recently released "The Electric Lady". Also on board for Paloma's new album are British Hip Hop & Soul recording artist Plan B, and Norvegian duo Stargate. "A Perfect Contradiction" is expected to drop on March 3rd in the UK, through RCA records.