Live Performance & CD Review
Review by Robert Urban
Here in NYC the buzz is out - and music fans everywhere are catching the appearance - or perhaps the re-appearance - of a major musical pop artist. We are as if struck by lightning. Suddenly in our midst - SCANDELLE is everywhere!
I had the pleasure of meeting Scandelle recently when he asked me to accompany him on guitar for a live show. Together we presented a special performance of his song “Speak Easy” at Jersey City Pride Festival's 4th Annual Fundraising Party.
stage presence & commanding vocal delivery, Scandelle held the fundraiser
audience in rapt attention all thru this classic rhythm n' blues style ballad. A
consummate performer in the tradition of James Brown & Tina Turner,
Scandelle slowly wove his bluesy aria from a whisper all the way to a soaring,
nearly operatic grandiosity - and then back again! At several key spots in
the tune he drew enthusiastic cheers of approval from the crowd.
Scandelle was born and raised in Brooklyn NY during the early sixties. Both his parents were from the Carolinas. Momma (north) Daddy (south). In his own words - “Although the home life was very turbulent - I learned the art of feminine survival from my Mom. An incredible sexy, beauty who loved her music and used it to keep her sanity and grace during a very stormy time in her life. This is where the music appreciation factor began.”
Scandelle wrote all 3 songs on his new EP release, entitled simply “Scandelle”. He also arranged all the vocals and co-produced the music.
I asked Scandelle how his recorded songs came together. In his own words - “SPEAK EASY was written in 1996 after the very bad break up of a two year relationship which ended in domestic violence and which I was lucky to come out of in one piece. The other two songs (AFTERLIFE and YOU'LL BE BACK) were demo music clips that I received from Music Producer Blake Althen of HF Productions out in DC. Once I received the music I further developed the tracks - writing lyrics and arranging the melodies etc.”
Scandelle's EP also includes an awesome extended remix of AFTERLIFE. The woman who remixed "Afterlife" is DJ/Producer DENISE GURNEY. She is an “Out and Proud” entertainer in her own right and working her way up the ladder as one of the few woman remixers in the world. Denise assembles her mixes/remixes in a grand fashion with fabulous clarity of sound and sumptuous, pliant sonic textures. I was immediately reminded of master-producer Trevor Horn's work circa 1980 when analog still ruled - ala GRACE JONES & FRANKIE GOES TO HOLLYWOOD. She took the original, relatively few musical parts in Afterlife and found a myriad of ways to recombine, expand upon, alter, etc. them; resulting in the creation of a monster roller-coaster ride retro-styled disco track that will surely find itself played to groovin' throngs in giant dance clubs throughout the world for years to come. For more info on “Dee” go to her site www.twisteddee.com
Scandelle's clarion-call vocals - soulful, crystal clear, vibrato laden, born on long, arching phrases, consecrate him an heir apparent to the venerable throne of classic R&B, soul & disco diva singing. This is a major vocal talent - following in the footsteps of such greats as Jackie Wilson, Carol King, Grace Jones, Sylvester and the whole royal stable of operatic 70's disco divas. Additionally, I could hear him fronting any number of classic girl, doo-wap or soul group styled efforts - ala Shangri-Las, Marvelettes, Chiffons, Little Anthony & the Imperials, Temptations, etc.
Scandelle's connection to classic American pop singing is not accidental, is apparently in his blood. His uncle was the late, great songwriter Otis Blackwell, composer of such hits as DON'T BE CRUEL, ALL SHOOK UP, RETURN TO SENDER (Elvis Presley), GREAT BALLS OF FIRE (Jerry Lee Lewis) and FEVER (Peggy Lee). Scandelle loves to sing the songs his uncle wrote, and I for one am eager to hear him at it - he has the perfect voice for 50's & 60s era rock n' roll.
Interestingly, if one didn't know Scandelle, and simply heard his singing, it can be hard to tell if it's a male or female voice. Timbre-wise - the instrument just goes everywhere. The term “androgenous” may come to mind
to describe it, but the term's popular connotation of things weak or neutered does not do justice to the power of tone or deep conviction of Scandelle's vocal delivery. I put it this way - Scandelle's voice somehow captures the BEST of both the male and female sound - when either or both are singing their finest.
URBAN PRODUCTIONS Music & Arts Reviews
visit SCANDELLE's website at www.scandelle.com
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