Remembering Great Records: Terence Trent D’Arby – Introducing the Hardline

April 19th, 2014


In honour of National Record Store Day, I look back at one of the most innovative Soul Records…

Artist Terence Trent D’Arby released his debut album ‘Introducing the Hardline’ In July 1987; a power force which stormed through the UK charts spending nine weeks at the number one album chart spot. The album produced four top 20 singles and earned Terence Trent D’Arby a Grammy for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance and a Brit Award.

The success of The Hardline was hugely influential to the UK RnB scene, as the album was released whilst D’Arby lived in the UK we adopted him as out own! UK RnB whilst thriving in the 1960s and enjoying some success in the 1970’s was struggling in the 1980’s to gain pace above the underground scene with the exception of Sade. Terence Trent D’Arby was the full package, he had a strong iconic image with long dreadlocks, an undefinable golden skin tone, a sultry pout and of course huge shouderpads! He had almost complete artistic control over the album, writing seven out of the eleven tracks and producing the project; a rare amount of artistic licensing for a debut album. Terence Trent D’Arby was making a statement – he was not just a singer, he was an artist.

The album oozed influences from every area of urban music from reggae, blues, the funk of ‘Dance Little Sister’ to the stripped back soul of ‘Sign Your Name’ to the Motown nod in his rendition of ‘Who’s Loving You’. The production of the album is flawless, mature and at times boldly experimental; boasting layered and complex instrumentals on every track and the vocal range that D’Arby demonstrates is second to none.

The Hardline paved the way for many UK soul artists as it grabbed international attention, the couple of years that followed in the UK soul scene saw the arrival of Omar, Soul II Soul and many of the ‘acid jazz’ groups. Influences of this album also became apparent in the 1990’s during the arrival of the ‘Neo – Soul’ movement in the US, when artists such as D’Angelo, Maxwell and Erykah Badu appeared sporting similar sounds, experimental production and even styles as Terence Trent D’Arby.

Most importantly , Introducing the Hardline has retained its credibility and relevance. Dust off your old copy,or listen for the first time, it still sounds innovative and fresh and is in my opinion, a milestone soul album.

Carly – ann (@CarlyMond)


Terence Trent D’Arby – Sign Your Name

 

 

 

 


Enigmatic Erykah Storms the Cape Town Jazz Festival

April 9th, 2014


I have just returned from Cape Town bringing good news for all Erykah Badu fans; Erykah headlined the prestigious 2 day Jazz Festival on the main stage and I can confirm that she looks and sounds better than ever!

The atmosphere at the venue was intense with anticipation for Erykah’s arrival and she came on to stage to possibly the best crowd reception I’ve ever heard! Her style was understated; wearing over sized workman’s trousers, a simple black shirt and a mountain hat with her hair wrapped in a scarf underneath, she looked stunning regardless – no gimmicks or extravagance required, which mirrored the tone for the performance.

Here is an artist who does not need any extras, she gets by on talent and conviction of her lyrics alone. The Neo-Soul Queen was the ultimate eclectic ‘one man band‘; she sang, she rapped, she even had a multi platform electric pad on which she created synth melodies and added sound effects to her tracks. With a clear awareness of her fans she sang all of her hits; ‘Love of My Life‘, ‘Next Lifetime‘, ‘I Want You‘ and ‘Tyrone‘ during a set which lasted over an hour, before returning to perform an explosive encore of ‘Honey‘, ‘Window Seat‘ and ‘Bag Lady‘ finishing up with a crowd surf sending the audience into an excitement frenzy that left everyone on a high.

The show saw some tender and emotional moments too during some of Erykah’s more stripped back tracks and particularly during a birthday tribute that she gave to her backing singer sister , ‘Nayrok‘ who shared the stage with Erykah and who she thanked in a tearful speech for her continued support. Clearly humbled by the response from the Cape Town crowd Erykah expressed sincere gratitude several times and said she felt like she was ‘Home‘.

The show was mesmerizing, energetic and humble and what was so evident was that Erykah Badu has maintained a huge global passionate fan base. The demand from fans and crave for new material is there, the talent is clearly still there, possibly stronger then ever, the love of music from Erykah is still there, so hopefully we won’t have to wait to long for this exceptional artist to be back on the scene with new material.

Until then we relive the classics….and there are so many….enjoy!

Carly – ann (@CarlyMond)


Erykah Badu – Love of My Life

 

 

 

 


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