For Canadian R&B singer, songwriter and producer Jully Black, contemporary music means integrating musical heritage from the past with more modern, digital beats, all while leaving something for a future generation of musicians.
Black is currently recording a new album, Made in Canada, and she will be performing songs from the album as well as other favourites from previous records at her upcoming New Brunswick performance on Feb. 28.
The Juno Award-winning singer cites Etta James and Tina Turner as her main inspirations, and credits her producer and drummer Young Pete Alexander for fusing her live music vibe with digital and contemporary beats. The warmth of real people playing real instruments isn't something she's willing to give up, however, whether playing live or on her album.
"The feeling of the analog, the warmth of hearing the bass, the strings of the bass and the strings of the guitar - that's something you can't accomplish with programmed music," she said. "I've brought in live horns to come play in the studio, a live string section in the studio - so all of those elements on Made in Canada are real people."
Made in Canada has been two years in the making, and Black explained they had originally written more than 60 songs for an album that was going to be named Eight. Rather than hold on to that volume of material, though, she decided to release an 11-track EP titled Dropping W(8) and offer it to her fans for free as they wait for the full album's release.
"We recorded about 60-plus songs for Made in Canada and we love all of them, but instead of hoarding songs, we said, 'Let's drop the weight off,'" said Black. "That's the concept. So we're dropping the weight of carrying so many songs and not having a fan wait anymore. It's kind of a double entendre."
Fans of the songstress shouldn't have much longer to wait, either, because Black is hoping to release Made in Canada late this summer or early in the fall.
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