Friday, March 20, 2009

"Who's That..." Artists of the Day

Ready for some info on a few artists? Here we go:

1) Brand New Heavies: The kings of the Acid Jazz (or Groove Jazz) genre, which is a mix of Jazz, Hip-hop and Funk music. Brand New Heavies formed in London, England in 1985 as an instrumental group, called Brother International. After signing their first record contract, they came up with the name Brand New Heavies from a James Brown single that declared him "Minister of New Super Heavy Funk." Soon, the group gained a cult following in the London club scene. The band signed to a division of Chrysalis Records in the UK, and American distribution was picked up by the label Delicious Vinyl, and N'Dea Davenport (who had signed an artist development deal with Delicious Vinyl) replaced Jay Ella Ruth as the lead singer. They rerecorded their first album with Davenport and released singles "Dream Come True", "Never Stop" and "Stay This Way," which became hits in Europe and America. Appearing with MC Search and Q-tip at a NYC performance convinced them to incorporate more Hip-hop into their music. Their next album was the critically acclaimed Heavy Rhyme Experience, Vol. 1, which included collaborations with Guru of Gang Starr and The Pharcyde, among others, but lacked any female vocals. Brother Sister (1994) was the last album to feature Davenport for a while because she wanted to pursue a solo project, but it did generate more hit singles. Four singers, Siedah Garrett, Carleen Anderson, Sy Smith and Nicole Russo replaced N'Dea, but they were not as good as her. In April 2006, the Brand New Heavies reunited with N'Dea Davenport and former label Delicious Vinyl. A new album, Get Used to It, was released in June 2006 with the lead single "I Don't Know Why I Love You." Later in 2006, they released the song "Jump N Move," which was featured on the move Happy Feet. The band still tours today.

Brother Sister

I Don't Know Why I Love You (cover of Stevie Wonder song)

Dream Come True

Dream On Dreamer

Spend Some Time

Jump N Move

2) Simply Red: One of the few English Soul bands, Simply Red actually started as a punk band after lead singer, Mike Hucknall, attended a Sex Pistols show. The group was first called Frantic Elevators and stayed together for seven years until 1984 when they released their last single, "Holding Back the Years." By 1985, he had assembled a new band, signed to Elektra, and the group adopted the name Simply Red because of Hucknall's red hair and left-wing views. They released their album, Picture Book, and a hit single, "Money's Too Tight (To Mention)," a cover of a soul standard originally recorded by The Valentine Brothers. In 1986 the band re-recorded "Holding Back the Years" in an interesting soul ballad style, which was an even bigger hit. Their second album, 1987's Men and Women saw the band adopting bowler hats and colorful suits instead of their earlier ragamuffin look, and the deep lyrics and social commentary of their debut replaced by a blue-eyed soul/funk sound. A New Flame (1989), their third album, was a more mainstream commercial sound with a cover of Harold Melvin's pop classic "If You Don't Know Me By Now." The group continues with more albums, like Stars (1993, with the UK hit, "Fairground"), Home (2003), and Simplified (2005).

Holding Back the Years (One of my favorite songs; Angie Stone covered this song for the movie, Love and Basketball)

Sunrise (You may recognize it from some car commercial)

Money's Too Tight to Mention


3) Missy Higgins: She is an award-winning Australian singer-songwriter who began her music career in 2001. After attracting the attention of manager John Watson, she released her first single with his record label Eleven in November 2003. Her second single, "Scar", was released in August 2004, debuting at #1 on the Australian charts. "The Special Two," her third single was a hit, debuting at #2. Another single, "Ten Day," peaked at #12 on the ARIA charts. Her first album, The Sound of White, was released in September 2004. In 2004, Higgins was nominated in four categories at the ARIA Awards, including "Best Female Artist," "Single of the Year" and "Best Pop Release" (she won this one). The next year, Higgins was nominated for a further seven ARIA Awards, winning "Album of the Year," "Best Female Artist," "Best Pop Release," "Breakthrough Artist - Album Release" and "Highest Selling Album." Before she lived temporarily in Los Angeles to record her second album, she toured the United States, United Kingdom and South Africa in 2006. Her second album, On a Clear Night, was released on April 28 2007. "Steer", the first single from the album, was released the same month. Again, in August 2007, she settled temporarily in L.A. to promote her record in the US market. On a Clear Night was released in the US on February 28, 2008 with a tour in March to coincide with the release in the U.S.


Where I Stood

The Special Two


Ten Days

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