Tag: Charles Bradley

Throwback: Happy Belated 74th Birthday, Charles Bradley!

JOVM’s William Ruben Helms belatedly celebrates the 74th anniversary of Charles Bradley’s birth.

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.

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.

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

New Video: Say She She Shares a Mind-Bending Visual for Sultry “Blow My Mind”

Deriving their name as a silent nod to the legendary Nile Rodgers — “C’est chi-chi! It’s Chic!” — the emerging 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. The result is 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, 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. 

Last month, I wrote about “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. 

Building upon a growing profile, the disco and funk outfit’s latest single is the slow-burning, sultry “Blow My Mind.” Centered around the trio’s yearning and impassioned cries, shimmering Bollywood-inspired riffage and a strutting bass line, “Blow My Mind” is a song about returning to a former flame, with who you’ve managed to hold feelings for — even after some period of years. “‘Blow My Mind’ is about a love that you can’t seem to get rid of and you can’t quite get enough of,” Say She She’s Nya Gazelle Brown explains.

Directed by Spencer Bewley, best known as Reelloopy, the accompanying video for “Blow My Mind” is fittingly mind-blowing as it’s chock full of trippy imagery. Bewley predominately works in found and self-produced 16mm film footage, which he culls, reframes and radically re-contextualizes, juxtaposing as many four projected images at a time to create reckless, riddling and yet fully synthesized visual poems. “Blowing minds is a subject very close to my heart and the fact this was a rare case of me liking the song EVEN MORE after the dozens of times during editing I had to listen to it made this an absolute joy to work on,” Bewley adds.

As I mentioned, the band’s full-length is forthcoming but in the meantime, they’ll be releasing their debut 45rpm “Forget Me Not”/”Blow My Mind” through Colemine/Karma Chief on May 20, 2022.

New Audio: Say She She Shares a Slow-Burning and Sultry New Single

Deriving their name as a silent nod to the legendary Nile Rodgers — “C’est chi-chi! It’s Chic!” — the emerging 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 a post-modern woman’s life. And a a result, the material is full of tales of 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 — three strong female vocals 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 Antibalas, Charles 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, 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‘ and Superhuman Happiness‘ and Low Mentality’s Nikhil Yerawadekar, Twin Shadow’s Andy Bauer and NYMPH‘s Matty McDermot. 

Last month, I wrote about “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.

Building upon a growing profile, the disco and funk outfit’s latest single, the slow-burning, dreamy and sultry “Blow My Mind.” Centered around the trio’s yearning and impassioned cries, shimmering Bollywood-inspired riffage and a strutting bass line, “Blow My Mind” is a song about returning to a former flame, with who you’ve managed to carry the north for — after a period of some years. even.

“‘Blow My Mind’ is about a love that you can’t seem to get rid of and you can’t quite get enough of,” explains Say She She member Nya Gazelle Brown.

As I mentioned, the band’s full-length is forthcoming but in the meantime, they’ll be releasing their debut 45rpm “Forget Me Not”/”Blow My Mind” through Colemine/Karma Chief on May 20, 2022.

New Video: New York’s Say She She Takes Viewers on a Trippy Nighttime Tour of NYC

Deriving their name as a silent nod to the legendary Nile Rodgers — “C’est chi-chi! It’s Chic!” — the emerging 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 Affair, 79.5 and Chicano Batman; and Sabrina Cunningham; along with Nya Gazelle Brown, a former member of 79.5.

The emerging New York-based funk and disco outfit 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. And as result, their material is a journey through a post-modern woman’s life, full of tales of love, 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.

Sonically, Say She She’s sound nods at 70s girl groups — three strong female vocals 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 Antibalas, Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaries, Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings, The Shacks, Twin Shadow and others. Locally, they’ve developed a reputation as a must-see live act, playing sold out shows at Bowery Ballroom, Nublu 151, Brooklyn Bazaar, C’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, 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‘ and Superhuman Happiness‘ and Low Mentality’s Nikhil Yerawadekar, Twin Shadow’s Andy Bauer and NYMPH‘s Matty McDermot.

“Forget Me Not” serves as the New York-based act’s debut single — and their self-titled 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. Written as an homage to New York’s Guerrilla Girls and to all the women’s rights and protest movements, who have paved the way for change, the song is a call to disrupt and dismantle male dominated spaces.

Directed by Alyssa Boni, the recently released video for “Forget Me Not” follows the trio looking like a cabal of hood-wearing, almost all black wearing crew as they go through Lower Manhattan town posting stickers everywhere they can place them. We also see them dancing in East River Park, wandering through Little Italy and Chinatown and going through a detailed dance routine in various locations.

Back in 2004, Chicago-based producer David Vandenberg brought the Leeds-based funk act The New Mastersounds to the States as an opener for Greyboy All-Stars for what would be the acclaimed British act’s first Stateside tour. As the story goes, Vandenberg took The New Mastersounds’ guitarist, bandleader and producer Eddie Roberts out to Rosa’s, a legendary blues club on Chicago’s West Side on Roberts’ first night in town to catch local bluesman Omar Coleman, a local blues legend, who had been playing Rosa’s for decades. 17 years later, Roberts wound up producing Coleman’s forthcoming album Eddie Roberts Presents Omar Coleman: Strange Times.

Slated for release this summer through Roberts’ own Color Red Music, the album’s title is an ode to The New Mastersounds 2001 debut, Keb Darge Presents: The New Mastersounds — and in many ways Coleman’s album finds Roberts, an acclaimed musician, bandleader and producer taking on the role of curator and influencer, championing and supporting artists he believes should be heard and loved.

Eddie Roberts Presents Omar Coleman: Strange Times‘ latest single, album title track is a strutting and gritty synthesis of The Payback-era James Brown funk and Chicago blues within a classic 12 bar blues structure featuring a looping bluesy guitar line reminiscent of B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters, an enormous horn line, bursts of shimmering strings and a funky bass line that would make Bootsy Collins‘ proud paired with Coleman’s powerhouse, soulful vocals. Lyrically, the song’s origins can be traced to a series of conversations Coleman had with Roberts during the album’s recording sessions about bizarre, infuriating and tragic state of America during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unsurprisingly, the exchange between the two kept turning back to the fact that we were all living in very strange times. Coleman took that and ran with it, immediately scribbling out incisive and fiery lyrics that accurately describe life in our very moment with the song talking about the abject poverty, desperation and uncertainty that hardworking and decent folks everywhere face. As the old saying the rich get richer while the poor get sicker.

Roberts’ recruited an accomplished backing band that features himself, Ghost Light’s Dan Africano (bass), Matador! Soul SoundsChris Spies (keys and organ), Dragondeer’s Carl Sorenson (drums), Lettuce‘s Eric “Benny” Bloom (trumpet), Michal Menert‘s Nick Gerlach (sax), Adrienne Short (viola) and Kari Clifton (violin) to help him with a sonic approach that would combine classic blues with funkier blues. And to capture the rawness and immediacy of the material, they recorded it straight to tape on Color Red Studios’ Tascam 388. “I hear Omar’s voice as a cross between Muddy Waters and Charles Bradley,” Roberts says. “I tried to reflect those qualities in music approach and songwriting as well as the way we recorded the album and built the instrumentation of the tracks.”

Featuring an accomplished array of players including former and current members of Antibalas, The Easy Star All-Stars, The Skatalies, Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaries, The Far East and others, the New York-based collective Combo Lulo initially was conceived a studio project that convened to record a handful of cuts for New York-based label Names You Can Trust (NYCT), including their debut single, released in May 2018. That single, which featured a hybrid of cumbia and reggae helped to quickly establish their sound — a sound that effortlessly draws from and bounces around the Caribbean, finding common threads between cumbia, rocksteady and dub.

Their debut single sold out in a few months, through good, old-fashioned word-of-mouth. Adding to the growing buzz surrounding the collective, the B-Side single “Canto Del Sol” was featured on NPR’s Marketplace in 2019. 2019 also saw the release of their second single, “The Sieve & The Sand,” which found the members of Combo Lulo incorporating elements of Ethiojazz and Afrobeat while maintaining a spacey, Roots Radics sort of groove.

The collective then teamed up with Panamanian soul singer Ralph Weeks for rocksteady ballad-like re-work of his 1969 slow jam “Algo Muy Profundo/Something Deep Inside” to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the original’s release. Much like their debut single, their collaboration with Ralph Weeks quickly sold out — while becoming a stable of DJ sets in clubs across Paris, Mexico City, and Los Angeles.

Building upon their rapidly growing profile, Combo Lulo will be releasing their highly-anticipated full-length debut Neotropic Dream on May 8, 2021. The forthcoming album’s latest single “Culebra Mentirosa” features a collaboration with Alba and The Mighty Lions’ Alba Ponce De Leon is a slick and soulful synthesis of dub, dancehall and cumbia centered around infectious and shuffling riddims.

“‘Culebra Menitrosa’ came about because we’re huge fans of Alba Ponce De Leon and her group, the Mighty Lions (also on NYCT),” Combo Lulo bandleader Michael Sarason says in press notes.”She’s got such a classy and nuanced sound as a singer, I thought it would work really well with our music. We invited her to come to the studio and after listening through some tracks, we spoke about the idea of writing a song in the form of a parable and using the animal kingdom as a device to tell that story. The concept came together quickly and Alba developed her lyrics and melodies on the spot. When we were mixing it, we tried to imagine what it might sound like if the classic Colombian Cumbia singer Leonor Gonzalez Mina had flown to Jamaican to have King Tubby mix her album. As I listen back now, I can hear all of that in the final version.