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Under The Radar: Shanelle Gabriel, Caretta Bell and Green Tea

02/03/2009

An all-female edition today!

Two of the artists featured here are relatively new to me, however the first is one that I have been sitting on for a while.

Shanelle Gabriel [myspace]

sg

[Note: I don’t have audio available at the moment so i’ve found a couple of Youtube vid’s instead]

Shanelle Gabriel is a spoken word artist / singer that i stumbled across about 18 months ago. For the life of me i cannot remember where i saw her name but a big thank you to whoever it was.

I have never been a huge fan of spoken word. I appreciate it as an art form but it’s not something I have ever gone out my way to listen to. The only spoken word / poetry i have gone back to on more than one occasion is Jill Scott’s ‘Thickness’ and a couple of appearances Floetry made on Def Poetry Jam.  Well things changed after i heart SG’s debut ‘Start Something’. The girl speaks, spits and sings like a seasoned professional (which she is judging from her hectic tour schedule).

A large proprtion of the album is recorded live at various shows and this is where she truly shines. You can hear the audience react to her words and you can tell she feeds off the energy of the crowd.

Title track ‘Start Something (aka Braggadocious)’ is a standout track where Ms. Gabriel announces that she is here to stir things up and start a musical revolution of sorts. She gives her (unfavourable) opinion on rap artists who sing about the usual money, cars and hoes and targets those who only rap about negativity and hate. ‘The Other Woman’ is an interesting track from the perspective of, you guessed it, the other woman. She urges women to up their game if they wanna keep hold of their man … but it’s not as straightforward as it sounds. ‘Games’ focuses on a couple who, unbeknown to each other, have both been unfaithful. It explores the fallout of the situation as well as what could have been had they not been so lucky on the STD front!

Caretta Bell [myspace]

cb

When ploughing through the world wide web searching for some new music it is sometimes hard to distinguish between music that is worth a listen and music that isn’t. I probably come across 3 or 4 new names every day, if i gave all of the material a listen i would never do anything else. So how do i decide? Well i look for names which crop up recurrently, or music that is endorsed by what i see as reputable sources. Caretta Bell came to my attention via a review over at SoulTracks (a reputable source in my book).

Love’s Eye View is one of my favourite albums released in the last year or so, and one of the best debut albums i’ve heard in a very long time! I know that newcomers such as Jazzmine Sullivan and Jennifer Hudson have had praise heaped on them (and deservedly so), but it’s almost criminal when artists such as Ms. Bell fly under the radar simply beacause they don’t have the major label backing of their peers.

Caretta Bell – ‘How Do I Love Thee’

LEV is a mixture of RnB, Soul, Hip-Hop with a sprinkling of Jazz thrown in for good measure. Songs such as ‘Foolish Me’ and ‘How Do I Love Thee’ would have sounded right at home on Chrisette Michele’s debut ‘I Am’, whereas ‘Dance’ is a more upbeat, hip-hop orientated track. ‘Fade Away’, to me at least, sounds like a perfect song for Mary J Blige and ‘Honeybaby’ sounds like a lost Aaliyah track complete with Timbaland production.

All these comparisons and mixed musical styles may well lead people to think that the album is incoherent and lacking structure, or that Caretta Bell is straight up ‘copying’ other artists … well those people would be 100% wrong. The album flow is spot on, from the playful album opener, through the to the album close and standout track ‘Fade Away’, and vocally she can hold her own amongst any of her peers.

Caretta Bell – ‘Breathe Of Fresh Air’

Highly Recommended!!!

Green Tea [myspace]

gt

Green Tea is a discovery i owe to Vivrant Thang over at SITKOL. Her album Dosage II: Choices arrived with me during a time when i was snowed under with new stuff and it took me a week or two to get round to it. However, since that first listen it has been in constant rotation on my iPod.

Lyrically her music is similar to that of India.Arie, in that the messages she puts across are almost universally positive, even when on the surface the song seems to be dealing with the negative. Vocally, Green Tea is up there with the best that modern day soul has to offer, she covers the whole spectrum from sexy/sultry mid-tempo grooves through to some more upbeat, powerful tracks.

Green Tea – ‘Power (Can You Feel It)’

I have yet to get my hands on her debut album Have a Cup of Green Tea Dosage I: Shades of Green’ but you can bet it is right near the top of my current, ever-growing wishlist, and if it’s anything like her sophomore effort it will be well worth owning.

Green Tea – ‘Who Would’ve Thought’

All the songs are excellent, but standouts for me are ‘Who Would’ve Thought’, ‘Power (Can You Feel It)’ and ‘Sweet Georgia Brown’ (available as a free download here).

She also has a ‘Life of an Independant Artist’ YouTube channel which you can visit here (thanks to Vivrant Thang).

____________________

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. 16/03/2009 6:54 am

    Thank you so much for the great review of Caretta Bell!!
    If you would like a personalized CD of Love’s Eye View, please email me your mailing address to [removed]
    Sincerely,
    CJ, VP of Operations
    Kozmik Oasis Recordings
    http://www.kozmikoasis.com

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