Category: funk

New Video: Say She She Shares Slinky Ballad “Fortune Teller”

Deriving their name as a sort of tongue-in-cheek nod to the legendary Nile Rodgers — “C’est chi-chi! It’s Chic!” — NYC-based funk and disco act Say She She features three accomplished, strong female lead vocalists: founding members Piya Malik, who has spent time in El Michels Affair79.5 and Chicano Batman; and Sabrina Cunningham; along with Nya Gazelle Brown, a former member of 79.5. 

The rising New York-based outfit can trace their origins back to when Malik and Cunningham found themselves living in the studio apartments directly above and below each other. The pair would hear each other singing through the floorboards and quickly became friends. “I knew the girl below me had the most beautiful voice as I would hear her early in the morning and she would hear me late at night. Between the two of us I don’t think we got a wink of sleep. Then again I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say they moved to New York City to sleep,” Malik says in press notes. 

After spending years singing in other people’s bands, Malik and Cunningham felt they were finally ready to step out into the spotlight with their own project. At first, they wrote tongue-in-cheek songs about bad boyfriends, band breakups and bad politics. But shortly after, they started writing much more serious and vulnerable tunes, like much-needed therapy sessions, detailing the lives of post-modern women. Since then, their material frequently touches upon love, lust, sex, heartbreak, betrayal and hope. 

A few years after they started the project, the duo recruited their close friend and Malik’s former 79.5 bandmate Nya Gazelle Brown to join them. At that point, the act’s core lineup was settled. 

Sonically, Say She She’s sound nods at 70s girl groups — multi-part female harmonies paired paired with funky, disco-inspired arrangements played by a backing band featuring some of New York’s most talented and accomplished players, featuring former members of  AntibalasCharles Bradley and His ExtraordinariesSharon Jones and The Dap KingsThe ShacksTwin Shadow and others. Locally, they’ve developed a reputation as a must-see live act, playing sold out shows at Bowery Ballroom, Nublu 151Brooklyn BazaarC’Mon Everybody and Baby’s All Right among others. 

Released earlier this month through Karma Chief Records, an imprint of Colemine Records, Say She She’s eight-song, Sergio Rios-produced, full-length debut Prism was recorded on old tape machines 
in the basement studios of friends. The album features guest spots from The Dap Kings‘ Joey Crispiano and Victor Axelrod, The Shacks’ Max Shrager, Chicano Batman’s Bardo Martinez, Antibalas‘  Superhuman Happiness‘ and Low Mentality’s Nikhil Yerawadekar, Twin Shadow’s Andy Bauer and NYMPH‘s Matty McDermot. 

Over the course of the year, Say She She have released a handful of attention-grabbing singles that include:

  • Forget Me Not,” the New York-based act’s debut single and their debut album’s first single. Featuring a strutting bass line, glistening wah wah pedaled funk guitar, fluttering flute and dreamy three part harmonies “Forget Me Not” is one part Patrice Rushen, one part Tom Tom Club’s “Gangster of Love,” one part ESG, one part Mary Jane Girls, centered around righteous feminist lyrics. “Forget Me Not” premiered on KCRW‘s Morning Becomes Eclectic and was played in heavy rotation, with a KCRW DJ describing the song as “The funkiest shit I’ve heard in a while!” They performed the song for a Paste Magazine session. The song has started to receive airplay on BBC6.
  • Blow My Mind,” a slow-burning, sultry bop centered around the trio’s yearning and impassioned cries, shimmering Bollywood-inspired riffage and a strutting bass line that’s about returning to a former flame, who you’ve managed to hold feelings for — even after some period of years.
  • “Trouble,” which landed at #7 on  KCRW’s Top 30, with the station saying “”New York’s Say She She are always on the assignment of making it as funky as possible, and with their new single they’ve cranked up the lovers rock lever.”
  • NORMA,” a defiant, politically-charged, glittery dance floor anthem — and urgent call for action, for all of us. Written in response to the leaked Supreme Court draft decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the song is a powerful reminder that the fight to have this country live up to its ideals ain’t over — and that women’s rights and their right to choose what’s best for them need to be protected. 
  • Prism,” a glittery and silky ballad centered around glistening keys, a supple bass line and metronomic-like drumming paired with the trio’s lush harmonies. The end result is a hook-driven song that sonically nods at The Supremes, psych pop and psych soul, and sounds as though it could have been released in 1968, 1978, 2008 or — well, today. 

Prism’s latest single “Fortune Teller” is glittering and slinky disco ballad built around fluttering vintage synth-driven arpeggios, twinkling keys, a tight, strutting groove paired with the trio’s gorgeous three-part harmonies. The song’s narrator is making an urgent plea of devotion to a lover: that although they can’t possibly be a fortune teller or a mind-reader, they will do what they can to protect them.

The accompanying, gorgeous video for “Fortune Teller” continues a run slick and hypnotic of visuals inspired by Bollywood: We see footage of edited stock footage of Bollywood dancers, home footage of the women dancing and performing as little girls, and the trio in pastel hues and flowing taffeta doing a Bollywood inspired dance.

Dans Le Kosmos is an emerging French sextet that specializes in a soulful and groove-driven take on pop rooted in their quirky and bewitching universe featuring lyrics that are simultaneously raw and romantic.

The act’s first released single “Pardon My French” is an infectious and coquettish, hook-driven bop that sonically brings Off the Wall-era Michael Jackson, Jamiroquai, and Tako Tsubo-era L’Imperatice to mind — but featuring lyrics sultrily delivered in French and English. It’s a charming and funky little bop with a nostalgic flair that’s simply irresistible.

New Video: Say She She Shares Glittery and Mesmerizing “Prism”

Deriving their name as a sort of tongue-in-cheek nod to the legendary Nile Rodgers — “C’est chi-chi! It’s Chic!” — the rising NYC-based funk and disco act Say She She features three accomplished, strong female lead vocalists: founding members Piya Malik, who has spent time in El Michels Affair79.5 and Chicano Batman; and Sabrina Cunningham; along with Nya Gazelle Brown, a former member of 79.5. 

Over the course of this past year I’ve written about the act quite a bit, so you might recall that they can trace their origins to when Malik and Cunningham found themselves living in the studio apartments directly above and below each other. The pair would hear each other singing through the floorboards and quickly became friends. “I knew the girl below me had the most beautiful voice as I would hear her early in the morning and she would hear me late at night. Between the two of us I don’t think we got a wink of sleep. Then again I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say they moved to New York City to sleep,” Malik says in press notes. 

After spending years singing in other people’s bands, Malik and Cunningham felt they were finally ready to step out into the spotlight with their own project, at first writing tongue-in-cheek songs about bad boyfriends, band breakups and bad politics.  Shortly after, they started writing much more serious and vulnerable tunes, like much-needed therapy sessions, detailing the lives of post-modern women. And as a result their material touches upon love, lust, sex, heartbreak, betrayal and hope. 

A few years after starting the project, the duo recruited their close friend and Malik’s former 79.5 bandmate Nya Gazelle Brown to join them. At that point, the act’s core lineup was settled. 

Sonically, Say She She’s sound nods at 70s girl groups — multi-part female harmonies paired paired with funky, disco-inspired arrangements played by a backing band featuring some of New York’s most talented and accomplished players, featuring former members of  AntibalasCharles Bradley and His ExtraordinariesSharon Jones and The Dap KingsThe ShacksTwin Shadow and others. Locally, they’ve developed a reputation as a must-see live act, playing sold out shows at Bowery Ballroom, Nublu 151Brooklyn BazaarC’Mon Everybody and Baby’s All Right among others. 

Slated for an October 7, 2022 release through Karma Chief Records, an imprint of Colemine Records, Say She She’s eight-song, Sergio Rios-produced, full-length debut Prism was recorded on old tape machines
in the basement studios of friends. The album features guest spots from The Dap Kings‘ Joey Crispiano and Victor Axelrod, The Shacks’ Max Shrager, Chicano Batman’s Bardo Martinez, Antibalas‘  Superhuman Happiness‘ and Low Mentality’s Nikhil Yerawadekar, Twin Shadow’s Andy Bauer and NYMPH‘s Matty McDermot. 

The rising New York act have released a handful of attention-grabbing singles that include:

  • Forget Me Not,” the New York-based act’s debut single and their forthcoming debut album’s first single. Featuring a strutting bass line, glistening wah wah pedaled funk guitar, fluttering flute and dreamy three part harmonies “Forget Me Not” is one part Patrice Rushen, one part Tom Tom Club’s “Gangster of Love,” one part ESG, one part Mary Jane Girls, centered around righteous feminist lyrics. “Forget Me Not” premiered on KCRW‘s Morning Becomes Eclectic and was played in heavy rotation, with a KCRW DJ describing the song as “The funkiest shit I’ve heard in a while!” They performed the song for a Paste Magazine session. The song has started to receive airplay on BBC6.
  • Blow My Mind,” a slow-burning, sultry bop centered around the trio’s yearning and impassioned cries, shimmering Bollywood-inspired riffage and a strutting bass line that’s about returning to a former flame, who you’ve managed to hold feelings for — even after some period of years.
  • “Trouble,” which landed at #7 on  KCRW’s Top 30, with the station saying “”New York’s Say She She are always on the assignment of making it as funky as possible, and with their new single they’ve cranked up the lovers rock lever.”
  • NORMA,” a defiant, politically-charged, glittery dance floor anthem — and urgent call for action, for all of us. Written in response to the leaked Supreme Court draft decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the song is a powerful reminder that the fight to have this country live up to its ideals ain’t over — and that women’s rights and their right to choose what’s best for them need to be protected. 

And adding to a growing profile, the trio’s music is featured in the trailer for Lena Dunham’s upcoming feature-length film Sharp Stick

Prism‘s latest single, album title track “Prism” is a glittery and silky ballad centered around glistening keys, a supple bass line and metronomic-like drumming paired with the trio’s lush harmonies. The end result is a hook-driven song that sonically nods at The Supremes, psych pop and psych soul, and sounds as though it could have been released in 1968, 1978, 2008 or — well, today.

Directed by Alyssa Boni and shot by by New York-born and-based film producer Nathan Corbin, a.k.a. Blazer, the accompanying video for “Prism” was filmed in upstate New York and features the trio delighting in a gloriously sunny and lysergic trip through blooming summer pastures — with Bollywood-inspired dance moves.

Lyric Video: Kainalu Shares a Breezy and Funky New Bop

Over the course of the past couple of years of this site’s 12 year history, I’ve managed to spill a bit of virtual ink covering the Southern California-born, Madison,WI--based producer, multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter, Trent Prall, the creative mastermind behind the rising psych pop, solo recording project Kainalu.

Deriving its name from the Hawaiian word for ocean wave, Prall’s work with Kanialu routinely sees him drawing from psych pop, psych rock, dream pop, Tropicalia, synth pop and funk, and childhood trips to visit his mother’s family in Oahu. The end result is a breezy, funky and nostalgia-inducing sound that Prall has dubbed “Hawaii-fi,” which he further developed and expanded upon with his full-length Kainalu debut, Lotus Gate.

Back in 2020, the JOVM mainstay collaborated with fellow JOVM mainstay MUNYA on the breezy and infectious “You Never Let Go,” which revealed some easy-going yet ambitious, hook-driven songwriting that found the pair seamlessly meshing their individual sound and aesthetics.

Prall’s highly-anticipated sophomore Kainalu album Ginseng Hourglass is slated for a November 4, 2022 release, The 11-song album is reportedly a contemplative and philosophical exploration of the passage of time and the finite, fleeting nature of life. Ginseng Hourglass follows the recent and untimely death of Prall’s mother, and is deeply informed by the conversations they had about her life and mortality during the last few months of her life. While seeing Prall striking a delicate balance between breezy effervescence and the darkest depths of despair, the album’s material captures life’s small joys and victories amidst trauma, emotional ruin and hard-won wisdom. Ultimately, the album makes a concerted effect to find and see hope — in heartbreak and pain.

“I don’t want people to think this album is sad because it’s not,” Prall says in press notes. “I have always used music as a way to heal. That’s what this music is — a way to escape into a vibe and atmosphere when the world was crumbling. It’s meant to transport you into a world because that’s what I needed when I wrote it.”

The album’s main concert is also shown in the cover art, which resembles falling sand in an hourglass — the literal embodiment of time physically slipping away, knowing that one’s time is the most precious thing anyone could have. While the album will further cement Prall’s reputation for crafting dance floor friendly grooves, but lyrically, it may arguably be the most personal of his growing catalog: The songs deep deep into a rabbit hole of complex, conflicting emotions making the album a cathartic, therapeutic fever dream — with Prall’s story at the center. Created as a means of escape and healing, Prall explains, I write to escape the thoughts that keeps me up at night. It’s a therapy device and meditative practice. These past years we all experienced so much loss. On top of the pandemic, I really went through some serious trauma and I wrote this record because I needed to.” 

Ginseng Hourglass‘s latest single “Queen of Wands” is a strutting, funky bop that sonically seems to draw from Currents-era Tame Impala, electro pop, 90s funk, and 90s house music centerdd around Krall’s unerring knack for swooningly yearning, nostalgia-inducing songwriting and infectious, soaring hooks. Interestingly, “Queen of Wands” took shape after a tarot card reading in which Prall drew the queen of wands card. (According to some interpretations, the queen of wands card suggests that the person is upbeat, courageous, determined, self-actualized and self-aware. and can channel their strengths and weaknesses to achieve their goals. In some cases, those who draw the card are inspirational, charismatic, creative sorts.)

 “It’s about being overwhelmed in the complexities of modern dating and relationships. As we grow older, the desire for deep connection becomes increasingly stronger and a sort of existential longing develops.” An ode to the power of femininity, Prall continues, “The track is a metaphor for this desire as the card roughly symbolizes a strong, driven feminine persona. When the queen of wands reveals themselves to you, resisting the signs is futile.”

Deriving their name as a sort of tongue-in-cheek nod to the legendary Nile Rodgers — “C’est chi-chi! It’s Chic!” — the rising NYC-based funk and disco act Say She She features three accomplished, strong female lead vocalists: founding members Piya Malik, who has spent time in El Michels Affair79.5 and Chicano Batman; and Sabrina Cunningham; along with Nya Gazelle Brown, a former member of 79.5. 

Say She She can trace their origins to when Malik and Cunningham found themselves living in the studio apartments directly above and below each other. The pair would hear each other singing through the floorboards and quickly became friends. “I knew the girl below me had the most beautiful voice as I would hear her early in the morning and she would hear me late at night. Between the two of us I don’t think we got a wink of sleep. Then again I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say they moved to New York City to sleep,” Malik says in press notes. 

After spending years singing in other people’s bands, Malik and Cunningham felt they were finally ready to step out into the spotlight with their own project, at first writing tongue-in-cheek songs about bad boyfriends, band breakups and bad politics.  Shortly after, they started writing much more serious and vulnerable tunes, like much-needed therapy sessions, detailing the lives of post-modern women. And as a result their material that touches upon love, lust, sex, heartbreak, betrayal and hope. 

A few years after starting the project, the duo recruited their close friend and Malik’s former 79.5 bandmate Nya Gazelle Brown to join them. At that point, the act’s core lineup was settled. 

Sonically, Say She She’s sound nods at 70s girl groups — multi-part female harmonies paired paired with funky, disco-inspired arrangements played by a backing band featuring some of New York’s most talented and accomplished players, featuring former members of  AntibalasCharles Bradley and His ExtraordinariesSharon Jones and The Dap KingsThe ShacksTwin Shadow and others. Locally, they’ve developed a reputation as a must-see live act, playing sold out shows at Bowery Ballroom, Nublu 151Brooklyn BazaarC’Mon Everybody and Baby’s All Right among others. 

Slated for release this fall through Karma Chief Records, an imprint of Colemine Records, Say She She’s self-titled, Sergio Rios-produced, full-length debut was recorded on old tape machines in the basement studios of friends. The album features guest spots from The Dap Kings‘ Joey Crispiano and Victor Axelrod, The Shacks’ Max Shrager, Chicano Batman’s Bardo Martinez, Antibalas‘  Superhuman Happiness‘ and Low Mentality’s Nikhil Yerawadekar, Twin Shadow’s Andy Bauer and NYMPH‘s Matty McDermot. 

Over the course of the year, I’ve managed to write about the rising New York act’s first two singles:

  • Forget Me Not,” the New York-based act’s debut single and their forthcoming debut album’s first single. Featuring a strutting bass line, glistening wah wah pedaled funk guitar, fluttering flute and dreamy three part harmonies “Forget Me Not” is one part Patrice Rushen, one part Tom Tom Club’s “Gangster of Love,” one part ESG, one part Mary Jane Girls, centered around righteous feminist lyrics. “Forget Me Not” premiered on KCRW‘s Morning Becomes Eclectic and was played in heavy rotation, with a KCRW DJ describing the song as “The funkiest shit I’ve heard in a while!” They performed the song for a Paste Magazine session. The song has started to receive airplay on BBC6.
  • Blow My Mind,” a slow-burning, sultry bop centered around the trio’s yearning and impassioned cries, shimmering Bollywood-inspired riffage and a strutting bass line that’s about returning to a former flame, who you’ve managed to hold feelings for — even after some period of years.

The act’s third single of the year, “Trouble” landed at #7 on KCRW’s Top 30, with the station saying “”New York’s Say She She are always on the assignment of making it as funky as possible, and with their new single they’ve cranked up the lovers rock lever.”

And adding to a growing profile, the trio’s music is featured in the trailer for Lena Dunham’s upcoming feature-length film Sharp Stick.

The act’s latest single “NORMA” is a dance floor friendly anthem centered around glistening synths, a sinuous bass line, propulsive four-on-the-floor, a funky and forceful horn section and bursts of Latin-influenced percussion paired with the trio’s gorgeous harmonies delivering a defiant and much-needed call to action — for all of us. Written in response to the leaked Supreme Court draft decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, the song is a powerful reminder that the fight to have this country live up to its ideals ain’t over — and that women’s rights and their right to choose what’s best for them need to be protected.

With collective backgrounds working in education, speechwriting and nonprofits, Say She She’s three frontwomen have no shied away from their intention to use their voices to share important and powerful messages. The band’s decision to name the song after Norma McCorvey, a.k.a. Jane Roe, who the Supreme Court decision was ultimately named for wasn’t an easy one. McCorvey’s life and story were complicated. uneasy and controversial: After fighting vehemently for years in support of the decision to protect a women’s right to choose, she changed position a number of times, before finally admitting on her deathbed that she had only done so in exchange for payments from an ultra-conservative, Evangelical movement in a bid to undermine the law. But that in her heart, she always supported a women’s right to choose. The trio thought of this as an example of how the vested interests of the ultra-religious and conservative patriarchy pose a corrupting and unyielding threat not to be met with complacency.

When asked about the inspiration for “NORMA,” Say She She’s Piya Malik says;

“Our friend Dina Seiden – who is an activist, writer, comedian and musician once said to us during a rally for Planned Parenthood, ‘I reckon feminists need to start touring the way bands do.’  It resonated and we felt a sense of urgency and obligation to recognise the opportunity we had to use our voices in a concerted way to protect what we believe to be fundamental to women’s rights.

“Call it blind idealism — but I still believe that policy, public opinion and protest can push change towards a fairer and more equitable society. After years working in Parliament where tireless hours are spent implementing Bills only for them to simply get amended or scrapped by the opposition once there was a change in the administration,  I knew I wanted to find a new medium for the message.

“We are using our song and music to let other women know we are here and we stand with them ready to fight.  But behind the scenes we are also working with a number of grassroots organizations to develop a policy position paper around SCOTUS Reform which we aim to publish as a coalition soon.

Sabrina Mileo Cunningham adds:  We believe in using the tools at our disposal — from grassroots activism, to the power of voting awareness and letter writing campaigns. And to us, being able to use our voice and music as a force for change and to send our message to the powers that be on behalf of all women who support the right to choose what happens to our bodies is a gift we want to harness and direct.”

Nya Gazelle Brown adds: Ultimately, we recognize that all lives are complicated and that the story only serves to prove how important it is for us to collectively use our voice to raise the importance of protecting our right to choose.”

The new single was released exclusively on Bandcamp on June 21, 2022, just days before the Supreme Court’s official decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was made. 100% of the proceeds from Bandcamp sales will continue to be donated to NARAL” Pro-choice America. So if you have a little bit of cash on you, support the new track — and give money to a worthy and necessary cause.

https://saysheshe.bandcamp.com/album/norma