Every week I shine a spotlight on singers that I’m listening to or have inspired me. Here are this months artists:
Tama Waipara: this man is another talented musician I am so proud to say I have been lucky enough to have worked with & even get to call my friend. He has so many talents, I’m not sure I’ll have space to list them all. Aside from being the most amazing singer (my fave male vocalist) with unbelievable control of his voice & an ability to connect with his audience through his words & melodies (he could sing me the phone book & I would be mesmerised…), he is a gifted musician (Clarinet & more), award winning songwriter (2014 Tui for Best Roots album – check out one of his songs in the vid below), composer (Mahana), actor (Rent/Raising the Titanics/Brel), musical director (The Factory 2013 amongst other projects), producer/programme manager (Auckland Arts Festival & more), & scholar (Masters in Music Performance from Manhattan School of Music no less!). I’ve probably missed something…oh I know, he makes ridiculously good whitebait fritters & set me up with my husband. Just those two stand alone in their epic-ness but there’s all that other good stuff too. Enjoy all that is this incredible artist & check out his other offerings – there’s a lot, he’s been releasing albums since 2003!
LaSharVu: are 3 singers. They are ridiculous vocalists in their own right but I’m particularly taken with them when they get together as LaSharVu aka Sharlene Hector / Ladonna Harley-Peters / Vula Malinga.
They sell out their shows in hours, tour the world constantly being fabulous backing other artists or singing their own music plus they are great friends to boot!
This vid shows three of the best in the business with their amazing corporate act Soul Family which I’m surprised they even have time to do as they are usually:
Being Sam Smith’s backing vocalist on his world tour – LaDonna
Fronting Basement Jaxx – Vula & Sharlene
Backing vocals for Emeli Sande & LOADS more – Sharlene & LaDonna
Singing in amazing choirs that back Stevie Wonder! (just last week!!) – LaDonna
Has sung with Incognito, Shosana Bean & Lalah Hathaway – Vula
Collaborating as a songwriter/singer with a tonne of NZ musicians (Jason Eli, After ‘Ours, Mark de Clive Lowe) which is how I got to meet her! – Sharlene
There honestly is so much more but I want to let the vocals tell the story cos I think we know they are in demand & the tastemakers & sound shakers love them.
Here are my faves of them individually.
Brendan Reilly: I first heard his phenomenal voice watching the Soul Family videos & then I stumbled upon some tracks he did with Disclosure (who I LOVE!) specifically this tune “Moving Mountains” which is performed live for the 2015 iTunes Festival.
What I dig about Brendan’s voice is his absolute control, unbelievably balanced tone, his ability to use his voice as one register (which is the holy grail of singing!) & super musical ear which he allows to come through in his vocals by doing a tonne of different genres of music. He takes risks too. I love that! To say he is versatile is an UNDERSTATEMENT. Find out more about him at his website www.brendan-reilly.com but take 6 minutes & have your mind blown at his voice in this vid.
Nick Drake: I first heard of Nick Drake when I was studying Pop/Rock vocals via Berklee Online earlier this year. To delve into signature styles & sounds was amazing & hearing his voice really helped me understand the qualities that define the uniqueness of a voice. I was haunted by his sound, songwriting & the tragedy of his life ending too soon from his battle with severe depression. As often happens with talented artists, they unfortunately gain more fame & a wider audience posthumously. I hope you explore more of this great songwriter & singer in the future.
Let me know what you think? Did it move you? If so, why? If it didn’t resonate with you I’d love to know why as well!
Feel free to share any artists that you’re into right now or in general – I love being put onto new music!