MAYSA

Maysa-Blue-Velvet-SoulWhen you venture out to catch a live performance, a vibrant conduit between performer and audience opens up. Hopefully at such times they will heighten you with their gift of song, in the supreme way that only music can, even making, when at its best, the sensual sound akin to spiritual and vice versa.

However, for all the elevatory joys I personally have had on such occasions, and they have been rich in multitude and splendour, I don’t think I’ve ever found myself literally open-mouthed in amazed rapture, almost frozen in awe, only to look around and witness a sea of faces around me clearly feeling exactly the same. On the 23rd of July 2014 at the Jazz Cafe in Camden, London – such a moment came into being. Spinning into town on the cusp of her latest (10th) album for a flying three-date UK visit was the acclaimed Maysa who, after delivering to the avid collective present the track Sophisticated Lover in the main, then took said tune and continued on with free-style improvised vocals reaching a whole new and unsurpassable level. As she took everyone witnessing this showcase on a truly bewitching journey of adept vocal agility it is no exaggeration at this point to use that adage you could hear a pin drop; only matched in full counter-balance by the immense roar that rose in unison when she closed her epic rendition. Be they well-versed or uninitiated to her talent, undoubtedly what stood before her from thereon in was a crowd with one unified and lasting impression; they had just borne witness to undeniable greatness.

I am unable to provide you with an audio of what I’ve just described, her engagingly humorous lead-in to why she penned this track, nor the incredible vocal journey that followed; but here is Sophisticated Lover as it so sublimely sits on her new album Blue Velvet Soul.

maysa (1)Like many truly transcendent singers weaving their soulful thaumaturgy for our delectation, Maysa (or Maysa Leak as she is also known), whilst undeniably acclaimed with a two-decade career, is not a house-hold name. She should be. If this were the era of Ella Fitzgerald and the like being at their peak, I have no doubt Maysa would be right up there with them. Of those who do possess the good fortune to know of her, certainly here in the UK, they may well have first come to do so through her work as lead vocalist with the highly acclaimed British jazz/funk/R&B band Incognito.

This is work she gives great gratitude for, which came to her after a rather swift transatlantic audition over the phone. Her subsequent pretty much instantaneous and nervously naive arrival into the UK was retold with brilliant wit in the aforementioned concert. Something that only really comes to the fore when seeing her live is that Maysa is not only an incredible singer but also a fantastic raconteur – with charm, humour and a soul-bearing truth as equally captivating as the songs she subsequently elicits following each monologue. In her own words:

“I am a storyteller, a counsellor and a friend that helps others through the good times and bad through my music. It’s important for me to connect with the audience because it’s my God given job.”

Prior to making that career-affirming trip to these shores with Incognito she had spent a year touring with Stevie Wonder, whom she met whilst still a student at Morgan State University, which she graduated from with a degree in classical performance having trained as a mezzo-soprano.

Interestingly, of the many memorable tracks Stevie Wonder has given the world there is the positive-vibe of Don’t You Worry ’bout a Thing, taken from his 1973 album Innervisions, and this was subsequently covered as part of Incognito’s 1992 album Scribes, Tribes & Vibes, featuring Maysa’s debut with the band.

Now, before I continue, I must please make mention of the artist who was on prior to Maysa, a young woman whose candescence has to be in assured ascendance.

As I wrote on my facebook music page ‘The G Spot’…

I had the joyous honour of seeing Debra Debs earlier this week. I could begin a long list of high-praising superlatives at this point, so instead, as a friend remarked: “It is amazing when a singer is even better live.” When you immerse yourself into her tunes, you’ll see the power in that statement of truth. 

I wrote one of my ‘spotlight’ pieces on her album LifeCycles earlier this year, the link to which is at the foot of this article. I strongly recommend making a purchase

To return then to the ‘now’, and Maysa’s newest album Blue Velvet Soul, which has garnered considerable acclaim, not least of which being has her first Grammy nomination for Best Traditional R&B Performance earlier this year for the song, Quiet Fire, her stunning interpretation of one of the last compositions by Johnny Hammond, which was released as part of the Nancy Now album by the legendary Nancy Wilson in 1989.

“Receiving a Grammy nomination for the first time in my 22 year career is incredible and means the world to me, but to get it for a song from my tenth solo CD is even more significant because I struggled to make this record so soon after the passing of my mother, Laura Leak. I truly poured my heart and soul into this record, so this is a great milestone not only in my career, but my life as well. I have been dreaming of and praying for a nomination since I was a little girl. I’m so grateful.” 1.

Blue Velvet Soul also carries the strength of Maysa’s song-writing skills, with eight of the fifteen tracks self-composed. These include Good Morning Sunshine, an uplifting duet with her long-standing collaborator and dear friend Jean-Paul “Bluey” Maunick, founder of Incognito

…and her beautiful meditative Inside My Dream

It is wonderful to hear that an artist such as Maysa is gaining more widespread recognition, simply because a gift such as hers deserves to be known by an ever growing international legion of admirers. If it is not yet evident to you, I most eagerly encourage that you become one of that number yourself. Dive head on in to her deep pool of musical delight. Discover those tracks that speak something to you for, undeniably, they will.

And should you ever find out that this lady is singing live somewhere, anywhere… that you can get to – go. Without question – GO.

Giles Addison

1. http://baltimoretimes-online.com/news/2014/jan/24/baltimores-maysa-leak-nominated-grammy-award/

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Hello to… KATHY BROWN

The Hello to… series is where I celebrate the work of a favoured artist. It always begins with introducing a tune I listen to regularly, followed by delving a little deeper into that particular persons work. As ever, if you enjoy this piece, please be as so kind to leave a comment in the box at the very bottom of the page, because love is love and “energy breeds energy”. Thank you.

kathy_b_wide

The name Kathy Brown may not be familiar to all. Unless, that is, you like your soulful house music, in which case she is a shining star up there with the best vocalists of our time, singing (and, most often, writing/arranging) songs that prove very much the truth as once written by Berthold Auerbach:

“Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

Indubitably! I open here then not from the start, but on the pulse of now, with the release in October 2013 of Not This Time under the King Street Sounds umbrella. Written by Kathy Brown and Atsushi Asada, together here with producer Namy, we are given an affirmation of ascendence to cut ties with a ‘bad un’ and to move on up. I can’t express how much I loved this upon the very first listen, and I knew immediately it would become a much-treasured tune, both for the musicality and the message. It also has – as you will hear momentarily – one of the best vocal hooks ever.

It was the Original Mix I first heard, but at present I’m unable to find that on youtube. Now with most tracks that get released I’m able to choose my personal favourite as ‘my’ definitive mix; not when it comes to the divine Ms.Brown – there are always several. What I present to you now then is the Director’s Cut Classic Mix (aka the legendary Frankie Knuckles, who’d been wanting to work on one of her tracks for quite some time, and the acclaimed Eric Kupper).

Were you singing those three words over and over? I sure was. Of course, this lady is much more than just an infectious hook.

I’m placing the link here to her original as it sits on her soundcloud page because you are less likely to catch this particular version, with the rap included – by her son no-less.

Beginnings…

Like many a great diva (in the truest sense of the word, as in: ‘a celebrated female singer; a woman of outstanding talent’), Kathy first found her voice by singing with her local Gospel Choir. She had begun doing so with three of her sisters (she has seven in all). Given that her Mother – a Minister – played guitar, and that her Aunt is Shirley Caesar, the ‘Queen of Gospel Music’ – winner of eleven Grammy Awards, with such a heritage Kathy’s chosen path comes as little surprise, and these roots shine through in every note she sings.

One day she was singing at a Laundromat, next thing she was performing in the group Sweet Cinnamon. She was 16 years old at the time.

“We met people like The Joneses*, The Commodores… you name it… Studio 54 was my spot. Bow-Legged Lou*, Cheryl Pepsii Riley*… These were the people I hung out with every week, that was my upbringing.”

*The Joneses had one of the earliest club hits with Sugar Pie Guy in 1974 (re-released in 1983). Most splendid as it is, I’ve placed the original here. It was released as Part I and Part II as 45 singles – remember there were no 12″ back then, though they are perfectly blended here as if there was.

*And for good measure, because it is beautiful, here is the 1998 smash Cheryl ‘Pepsii’ Riley track, given to her by Bow-Legged Lou (of Full Force).

Kathy began to venture into acting. She auditioned for, and got offered a role in the musical ‘The Wiz’, but her Minister Mother refused to allow her to be in something so non-secular. It is Karen Bernard, who was singing with The Joneses at the time, that we have to thank for all the music from Kathy that we have today, at least in part, because Karen kept pushing her to pursue the singing. Then the time came, when in 1993 she met up with David Shaw who was producing a cover of the Lace track Can’t Play Around. He put down Kathy’s vocals, it was released and it shoot her up into the US Billboard Dance Charts. The star was born.

I place here first, the original demo release, followed by the Masters at Work mix.

This wasn’t the only track released in that year she featured on. It may well have said Chantay Savage on the cover, and only list Kathy Brown as backing vocals, but one listen here doesn’t take much to decipher. This is not the only time her gift has been used to ‘ghost sing’ as it is called. Anyway, two different versions of this track are placed for you here.

A year later into 1994, and again as with Can’t Play Around came her second smash from the Cutting Records label; Praxis featuring Kathy Brown – Turn Me Out. A Number One Hit, it is an eternal house classic that in many variations and a multitude of mixes is heard out on the floors, as fresh now as it was then.

Onwards, and Upwards

Since then she has never stopped, tune upon tune, year upon year.

From such a catalogue, selecting a few is no easy task, but I’ve limited myself to five.

To kick off, two releases from 1999, both of which sublimely uplift. Press play on this right now and dance around your room for the next 6 minutes – purest medicine for body and soul as can be found in Happy People.

…you can double that by soaking up this deliciously smooth version too.

Feeling good? I trust you are. But we’re not stopping there, as the other from that year is Joy – David Morales Classic Club Mix (Azuli Records). When I spoke with Kathy I asked her if she had any favourite projects, and I’m pleased this was one she mentioned.

“When I first thought of David Morales… I’d never heard him play but I always heard his name. So I went one night and I couldn’t sit down. I’ve never been anywhere where a producer, literally every time I tried to sit down – I just keep getting up back and forth – that’s how passionate he is when he plays – the same electricity that is running through him is running through you, you feel it.”

Extra special meaning is added with the fact that the backing sisters to this (also Mariah Carey’s) were the same girls she grew up in the Gospel Choir with, so the ‘joy’ really is full circle.

In 2003 she came forth with Don’t Give Up (here with the Copyright Classic Mix) on Defected. Those verses… that chorus… “You’ve got to be strong, you’ve gotta hold on, and never give in, til you find a heaven…” This is WORD!

That same year, again with Sam Holt and Gavin ‘Face’ Mills (the Copyright chaps), Never Again.

As a perfect follow up to that I look to 2005 when we received Soul Central featuring Kathy Brown – Strings Of Life (Stronger On My Own). Come, come now – I simply had to include this one. Originally released in 1987 Strings of Life by Rhythim Is Rhythim (aka Derrick May), with those orchestral stabs and piano riffs, is considered by many to be one of the most influential dance records ever made, and a good few versions abound. For me, with her voice soaring as it does here, this is ‘The One’ as a supremacy of feeling rises up. The version I post begins with her little talk-in; I love it when Kathy places these segments into her tunes – it is like the Goddess Athene imparting wisdom from Mount Olympus.

In 2006 came the release of Dare Me with Miami Calling.

Originally sung by  The Pointer Sisters in 1985, providing them with their only number one hit in the U.S. dance singles chart (you can see the very retro and fun video of the original directly below this – the Dj Chus & David Penn Vocal Mix).

“Baby make your move, step across the line, touch me one more time…” Kathy sent that classic refrain soaring out on to the dance floors like never before.

2006 also saw the release of Get Another Love with Defected, a cover of the original featuring Chantal Curtis, both of which I place here.

Going off on a tangent momentarily. Sadly, we never heard a great deal from Tunisian-born Chantal Curtis. Due to her serving time in prison for drugs, which her musician boyfriend Philippe Briche had turned her onto, some of her recordings, such as Disco Dance, were released by West End Records under the pseudonym of Michele.

Another of her tracks was Hitman.

This track proved to be tragically prophetic for Chantal, who was murdered in 1986 by a bullet that was intended for Philippe.

But let us put that sad little segue into disco history to a side now, and return to the real task at hand. Here then is Kathy Brown’s supreme take on Get Another Love.

What I adore about this is not only those stellar vocals that are what we have come to know and love from her, but the whole production is just golden. In other hands this may have just simply become an update; here it becomes a classic all in its own right.

Ok. So I said five, and you got more. But were you really counting? No, neither was I.

And so of late…

In 2010 Kathy Brown reconnected with David Shaw (the producer of Can’t Play around and Turn Me Out) and Deep Influence. The results – dazzling as ever as you can hear in Feel the Music…

Check out the 2 Good Souls & Matt Early Remix and the Master Kev & Tony Loreto MKTL Remix to this too.

Love and Pain – here is a shorter taste, the version that first grabbed me is a whole ten minutes of glorious Kathy Brown perfection.

…Give Me Your Love…

…Tell Me Why

…bang, bang, bang and… BANG! Kathy Brown just keeps knocking them out of the ball park. As we soak these up, it becomes clear as day that we need a Kathy Brown album. Can you imagine how great that would be – magnificence assured!

Apologies… lost in wistful thought… there is more.

Oozing hotness… this demands close-up moves… The Things You Do produced by the 2 Good Souls (Owen Clarke and John Lindsey Taylor )

Other recent delights are now with us, such as Micky More & Kathy Brown – Show Me How To Love – a blissful bounce of Jazz and Soul. The first time I heard this, I played it three times consecutively.

Something old, something new… Kathy Brown & Artificial Intelligence – Somebody To Love.  This track was actually written by Kathy Brown and Asha Keys some seventeen years ago, and has recently been given the light of day through a new project called ‘Musical Gateway’ that connects people together; the drummer used here is Darrin Mooney from Primal Scream and on percussion is Patrick Dawes from Groove Armada.

You know what… in case it wasn’t obvious, I really have been in musical heaven writing this piece – listening to Kathy Brown’s great body of work as I did. The fact that it also brought me the unforgettable opportunity to speak with The Lady herself which she generously offered to do was the icing on the cake with a cherry and gold dust and… you get the picture. I hope you’ve enjoyed this even a tenth as much as I did.

And so… The Final Word

When asked what drives her as an artist Kathy Brown replies: “Loving me first of all, the love that I have for myself. And what I see, when I sing, what it does to other people – that drives me. How I make you feel when I sing. Not to just get up and sing because anyone can get up and sing but if someone can get up and sing and you feel it and it touches you and your hairs stand-up on your arms or whatever… So when I sing, if I don’t feel it then I know you don’t feel it, and at the end of the day it is all about how you are feeling. That’s what drives me – the thought that I get when knowing how it makes you feel.”

As the great Maya Angelou once wrote:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

We won’t. We never do. I know I can speak for many when I say that Kathy Brown makes you feel more than just good, she elevates to the happiest place possible. Long may that continue.

Bless you for that joy you give Kathy Brown.

Giles Addison

vimeo.com/61536277

http://www.vibe.com/article/exclusive-kathy-brown-edm-remix-stream

Hello to… INDIA.ARIE

This is my second posting under the title of Hello to…, which commences with me introducing a favoured tune, followed by me delving in a little deeper into that particular artist’s work.

As ever, if you enjoy the piece, please leave a comment at the very bottom of the page. And remember, these are not critiques, nor reviews. They are written in the first person as this is personal, it is my ‘Music G Spot’ after all, and as The Bard put it: “If music be the food of love, play on!” 

india pic

So let me first introduce the track, which is her latest release, the gloriously up-beat self-affirming ‘Just Do You’. Listening to this is the perfect way to begin each new day.

Pretty much the moment I decided upon doing this particular series, I knew India.Arie would be soon enshrined here by my musings. Without a doubt this beautiful woman has proved to be a guide to my soul, a comfort to my heart and an inspiration to my mind; an earthly goddess who I have yet to have the joy of seeing performing live, and who – though we are strangers – I rather uniquely for someone in such standing, look upon as a friend. I’d go as far to say that in the darkest of times she has played a part in saving my life. That may perhaps seem something of an overstatement; it isn’t.

The first track I became familiar with was her debut release ‘Video’, and I remember as clear as day thinking “Who IS this?!” – (the answer immediately with me, as she name-checks herself within the lyrics). I was struck with the hook-in that so perfectly summed it all up; as Ralph Waldo Emerson once put it: “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

It was the year 2001, and I was going through a challenging time personally. I went and brought the album ‘Acoustic Soul’ – a love-affair began and she has been a constant along my journey ever since.

I can’t list every song from that and the personal connection I have with it, else I would have to do so with each subsequent album too, so I’ll pick just one, that being ‘Strength, Courage & Wisdom’. As with most of her songs, it is less a statement of absolute fact, more an affirmation that one is aiming to be all that is being said; it is as fresh with me as that as it was when it I took it within over a decade ago.

Born in Denver, Colarado in 1975, India.Arie is a multi-Grammy Award-winning American singer-songwriter, musician, and record producer. In total to date, 4 Grammy Awards from her 21 nominations, but the road to that hasn’t always been smooth sailing, as she reveals here in this extract from an interview with Oprah Winfrey.

“In 2002, newcomer India Arie netted a total of seven Grammy nominations. At the end of the night, though, she walked away with none – an outcome that is still considered one of the worst snubs in Grammy history. India Arie says that she learned two very important lessons from that night.”

Of course, whatever it is in life, adversity is the tempering of one’s mettle – to learn, to grow, to triumph through on the other side is the biggest accomplishment of all. I certainly don’t believe that awards are the sole-defining marker of an artist anyway, but this story nonetheless brings forward a message with it.

Given the powerful connection I had with her first album, it would be true to say that her follow-up – ‘Voyage to India’ – was the most anticipated release from an artist I have ever longed for. It was a wait that though less than a year seemed an eternity, my first internet pre-order, the arrival of which brought me yet further unsurpassed comfort and joy. I listened in entirety, repeatedly; When I need to pick myself up again, her guidance is the best reminder to carry on through, so perfectly pointed in ‘Headed In The Right Direction’.

In 2006 – which even more seemed an eternal wait – her third album ‘Testimony Vol. 1: Life & Relationship’ served to do yet further what India.Arie always has, and remains, to do in my life. A week after buying it I went and purchased several more copies to give as gifts, including to my three sisters, a unique happening in my chosen musical odyssey.

As I was slowly but surely coming through the other side of the ending of a romantic relationship during this period, her songs came to me as a light breaking through darkest cloud. Again, listing particular tracks isn’t so simple, given that the entire work was holding power, but her cover of Don Henley’s ‘The Heart Of The Matter’ certainly stood firm as the word in song of a wise comrade at my side. Framed either side of this were the admission of ‘These Eyes’, and the gradual acceptance ‘Good Morning’ was a true moment of synchronicity that held a power quite beyond measure, a power that sustains.

Here is footage of her singing ‘The Heart Of The Matter’ live (along with another you will be familiar with), taken from the North Sea Jazz Festival in 2007.

Though I’d happily place every track here, I’ll leave the listings from this third album on, first, the positive rebuilding tones of a triumphant ‘I Choose’.

I am a great believer in looking to quotes from the great and good throughout history to aid us as we travail this rock-strewn path of life, and undoubtedly one of many favourites has to be this one from the philosopher Confucius (551 BC – 479 BC):

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.”

And so, to the second, a ‘hidden’ delight at the very end of the playlist, for when life is getting tricky, and the need to be reminded comes in ‘This Too Shall Pass’

“Listening to the songs is like listening to an audio version of someone’s diary. The words and feelings are so intensely personal, it makes you wonder how and why someone would be willing to put so much of themselves out there for the entire world to see and hear. But it’s this boldness and frankness that makes ‘Testimony’ such a breath of fresh air compared to most American R&B and Soul music these days. The songs connect with the listener in a way that most artists could only dream of.”

Mark Edward Nero (1)

If there was a Volume 1, we had to expect another, and thankfully this came in 2008 with her release of ‘Testimony Vol. 2: Love and Politics’. The mission of this second volume was, as she said “…to spread love, healing and peace through the power of words and music. That’s actually the mission statement for everything I do. The only contribution I have in that is when I’m writing those songs, I’m very conscious of what I say, and how I say what I say. I feel that I hear, from whoever the higher power is, songs, subject matter that is about the human condition more than it’s just about what’s happening in my life.” (2)

My first choice to select here is ‘Therapy’ being, as I’ve well-established already, that in listening to her she is continuously mine.

The bounce in the basic wisdom of ‘Better People’, imploring for more of a connection, this time between the ages.

And then I choose ‘Yellow’, because I still hold faith such a thing will at last come to be.

Finally, the bonus track from this album, that being ‘A Beautiful Day’, which rightly should be played daily with the introductory tune I placed here; I’ve often thought it should be my morning alarm to arise to.

ALL GOOD THINGS…

I’ve joked previously of seeming eternities, but it really was then the longest of waits for her fifth album – ‘SongVersation’, released in 2013. This was as much as anything to do with her requirement, her need to take a step inwards.

“I realized it long before I did it. It was at the end of 2006; I had a breakdown in the dressing room. I just lost it, and I don’t remember everything that happened, really. … I rested for a couple days.

But then finally, somewhere in 2009, things just weren’t right. Things just kept happening… and I knew I needed to take a break, but there’s that … drive and the competition of the music industry. … You’re scheduled to be who they think you are all the time.

It’s business, and I get it, but what I refused to do any further — and what I refuse to do ever again — is to not be on the same page with the people who want me to deliver. We need to be on the same page and have the same plans so I’m not just spending my life trying to deliver what you need.” (3)

India.Arie explains further: “This is where I’ve been for the last four years, I’ve struggled most of my career to feel comfortable with how things were, how I was treated, the politics of the music industry. I needed to pull back from the public eye to ground myself and rebuild my life and career. It’s a process many of us go through: spiritual maturation, spiritual awakening, clearing out the old and starting anew.” (4)

She supports this strength born from a time of tearing much down and rebuilding again when discussing one’s own worth (she has a necklace with the word ‘worthy’ to remind her).

“It’s a powerful word… Now we are living in a time where there are challenges being whoever you are; being gay, being black, being a woman, there’s challenges that come with any aspect of humanity. This is the time where you can define your own worth… You don’t let anybody tell you or define your worth for you. We do it, but it’s not sustainable, it’s not productive, it doesn’t give you a beautiful life.” (5)

What India.Arie brings us now is a culmination of that pilgrimage into herself, and, just as she has found herself enlightened by her own personal epiphanies, through her honesty, her truth to herself and putting that into her music, she in turn helps bring us to our own; ‘SongVersation’ is pure incandescence.

“Putting spiritual and empowerment ideals into music concepts … that’s always been the core message of my music—and it seemed I was talking to others …” she says. “But the truth is that it was my message to myself because I was yearning to know the peace of a self-defined life.” (6)

That, for me, makes me love and appreciate this gift she shares even more. She is on her journey, I am on mine, we are on ours. India.Arie doesn’t speak to us from an advanced place of being (though I could easily accept that she is too), what she does is reach both inwards and upwards to look at the eternal wisdom that is there to guide, and as she affirms it to herself, she aids in our own personal affirmations.

I’ve learned through her talking that ‘SongVersation’ also come into being because of another album called ‘Open Door’ that she was working on that, through exhaustion, frustration and other factors hasn’t as yet come to light. I hope it does in time; like a great painter, none of her art should be hidden from us.

But to today, and to ‘SongVersation’, born after a day of prayer and six months of pure focus. As much I adore this album in its entirety, and would strongly recommend playing in full as that, let me point to a few immediate favourites. Aside from my introductory choice which is the essential empowerment of ‘Just Do You’, I come to the following:

We all have a secret pain

We all have a tender place

We were born to want more

And no I’m not meant to live alone

But this is the life I know

I acknowledged and accepted the tears that fell upon my cheeks as this first played. It reverberated within, for music is indeed what feelings sound like.

As Kahlil Gibran put it: “Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding… And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy.”

The pure peace and serenity that meditation brings.

The final track I put here is not a track from one of her albums. It is the sheer beauty of ‘A Time to Love’ with Stevie Wonder*, released in 2005. It is a track I wish was heard, and heeded, globally.

“He gave me the melody and he said “this is what I want it to be about” and I took it home, and I pray for songs all the time because it just helps you get centred – prayer just helps. This time, in my prayer I said “Please let me finish it all today (laughing) because I want it done NOW!” And I did, and then I sent it to him, and I didn’t hear from him so I flew to LA… this is Stevie, he’s got my song and I want to know what’s up. I went to his studio and he said “I recorded it” and he pulled it out and started playing it and I got light-headed… it was a MOMENT. Then he said “you sound so great on here, do you want to sing it with me”… er, YEAH, YES I DO!” (7)

* Incidentally, during her own music career India.Arie’s mother Joyce Simpson opened in concert for Stevie Wonder.

My last clip here is not one of her songs, but again returns to the interview with Oprah Winfrey that I featured earlier. I do so because she talks of a revelation I too finally came to not so long ago, probably around the same time as India.Arie herself did. Synchronicity is everywhere.

“I won’t let anyone talk me out of my intuition.”

Follow your own voice.

I am at last following mine.

Hold the Faith in You. See the invisible, feel the intangible, achieve the impossible; believe when it’s beyond the power of reason to believe. Because by taking this leap of faith, we find out who we are truly capable of becoming.

Follow your own voice and fulfill every aspiration.

And thank you India.Arie – you have helped, and continue to aid me in fulfilling this. As you do countless others.

As Oliver Wendell Holmes once put it: “Take a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons.  You will find it is to the soul what a water bath is to the body.”

No finer flowing water is there on this Earth for such a bath than India.Arie.

Giles Addison

(1) http://randb.about.com/od/cdreviews/fr/TestimonyVol1.htm

(2) http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=101568800

(3) Interview with Neal Conan. http://www.npr.org/2013/06/13/191313811/india-arie-returns-to-start-a-new-songversation

(4), (6) http://www.amazon.co.uk/India.Arie/e/B000APOHOA/ref=ac_dtp_sa_bio

(5), (7)  Interview with Tavis Smiley. http://www.pbs.org/wnet/tavissmiley/interviews/singer-songwriter-india-arie/