If I say Stacy Barthe – does the name say you something? I guess your answer – sadly – is “No”
Unless I ask you if you know; Britney Spears, Rihanna, Kelly Rowland of Destiny’s Child, Kathy Perry, Cheryl Cole, Brandy and Miley Cyrus? I bet your answer is “Yes, I know those!”
If you know or/and love one or more of those artists, you´d probably have heard the songs of Stacy Barthe. She has written for all those and a bunch of others. To mention a few male artists she has even worked with Rick Ross, Akon and Sean “Diddy” Combs.
…This is why i love Stacy Barthe
The first time you hear the voice of Stacy Barthe, close your eyes. What you hear is a voice so smooth and soulful. Deep and lush and it sounds like she has sung all her life. A mixture of Sade, Rihanna (as when she sings on her slow jams), and Nneka maybe?
I´m tempted to call her a female Drake because she, just like Drake on his “Thank Me Later” album strips down the melodies down to drums, percussion, sometimes a piano and/or a acoustic guitar – naked and organic sounds and full of air and allowing quietness to be a part of the music. The quietness in the music is important to let her fantastic warm voice be the main ingredient in the songs. She flirts sometimes with reggae – and it´s not over-the-top – and it works! When she slows things down and do a spoken word at the end of a couple of her songs. I´m sold again!
She has under her own name released three fantastic EPs “Sincerely Yours, Stacy Barthe” in 2011. “In The Inbetween” and “PS! I Love You” in 2012. These three albums all together contains 25 tracks – and over 90 minutes of music. And before you ask; Just marvelous tracks, no fillers! That’s a huge smile and two huge thumbs up from me!
On her first release under her own name, she even worked with one of 2012s best artists: Frank Ocean. He did vocals along with Stacy on the beautiful “Without You”, and Rick Ross joins her with a rap verse on “Hell Yeah!”. I could go into mention single songs, but with Stacy Barthe, it´s not any use to recommend some songs – because they´re all so damn good and by not mention anyone, no one is let out.
A few did-you-knows at the end:
Did you know it was Beyonce who made Stacy Barthe decide to release her debut EP, “Sincerely Yours, Stacy Barthe”
Did you know Stacy Barthe is working with Miley Cyrus forthcoming album, which will (mark my word) be Mileys major mature breakthrough
Did you know she even knows and has worked with artists like Alicia Keys, Estelle, Andre 3000, Elle Warner, Brandy, Stephen Marley and T.I.
About the music of Stacy Barthe, she says it best on her own homepage: “You can find hurt and pain in my music while finding the light. It represents empowerment… I speak from a very truthful and sincere place…with love”
My first encounter with the music of singer-songwriter Jem Warren was through Twitter. I checked out his debut EP “Lifeblood To My Soul” and some clips through YouTube and checked out the Jem Warren homepage.
I loved what I heard, took some time to get into him and the EP – but when he hit me he hit hard. References that fell into my mind was R.E.M, Talk Talk´s Mark Hollis, Marillions Steve Hogarth and a bit of James Blunt.
I loved it so much that I decided to send him a request if he´d like to do a Q&A interview with me on my blog. I wrote a blog in my native language, Norwegian – before i started the Read And Hear music blog.
Jem Warren wanted to do this – and since I´ve read on his homepage, i knew that he was working on his debut album. Many of my questions is about the coming album.
The Jem Warren pre-“Heart Knows How” album release Q&A
Q: I saw on YouTube, you played harmonica and guitar on your version og Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice…” Do you play any other instruments?
A: I dabble in keyboards and bass guitar, particularly when I’m writing at home
Q: You also do covers of John Mayer and Jack Johnson, amongst others; Is this like artists you are influenced by? Which other artists would you say you are influenced by?
A: The Police, Tracy Chapman, Fleetwood Mac, Jose Gonzales, Tom Petty
Q: Your coming record vs the EP you’ve already have released; Is the album more of the same or is there any large changes on the album?
A: The new album is very different from the EP. I wrote all the songs for “Lifeblood To My Soul” relatively recent with a very specific sound in mind. The new album, “Heart Knows How” is much different. It’s basically an accumulation of songs I’ve written over many years with no particular vision or theme for an album. I wrote them on the fly and felt the time had come to get them out there. The result is an album that’s somehow more americana rock´n´roll (and maybe a little bit more country too).
Q: After hearing your EP my mind is full of names and references I would like to mention in my upcoming blog post. So if you should say something like “If you like Jem Warren; You should also check out…” the rest is up to you…
A: Sun Kil Moon, Jose Gonzalez
Q: If you’d like to tell; Your homepage mention both your father and mother made music, are you influenced by them? Have they released any albums? Anything I could/or should check out?
A: My parents were both very musical but didn’t really go for it in a formal sense. They were great influences on me since they provided a rich musical environment, but never put out albums themselves…
Q: And the last one; My blog is quite new, with just under 20 posts so far, but so many drafts and thoughts and ideas about what I’d like to write about. I write in Norwegian, but the blog has a translate option. I write about mainly new music, that I like myself and feel most people should listen to. I feel have a fine sense about what become or should become a hit or more people should listen to. …of all the blogs in the world why would like me to write about you!?
A: You seem pretty cool. Far be it from me to turn down anyone willing to write about my art. The honor is mine
The album that became his debut albums which he released march 2012 was named “Heart Knows How”. The Jem Warren debut was a large leap forward for the sound of Jem Warren i knew through the EP. He sounded more confident, he sings in a deeper tone, not so nasal as he was earlier. The band sounded groovy, more funky. They sounded like they had great fun while recording the album, you´ll also hear pop, americana – and wonderful timeless ballads. Jem is without doubt a singer-songwriter, he writes all his stuff himself, plays on all his songs. On the “Heart Knows How” I´ve heard references like The Black Sorrows, Hal Ketchum, The Waterboys´Mike Scott, Ryan Adams, John Mayer – but still no rip off – Jem Warren has his own voice, his own sound – and writes songs with a meaning.
A few months back I decided to hear if Jem Warren would like to do a follow-up Q&A and he liked the idea. Being a hard-working artist – who has spent most of the year on the road – it took some time before he´d answered the questions…but then he did…
The Jem Warren post-“Heart Knows How” album release Q&A
hey man. sorry it took so long. I appreciate the interest in my music and career, man.
Q: Since releasing your debut album “Heart Knows How” do you feel you life has changed?
A: i think when any artists creates and then puts out an album there’s an immediate sense of emotional release. I’m no different in that way. but like any artist you start thinking about the next album and what you want to express. career wise, the album’s had a great affect. I’ve picked up a lot of new fans. I’m set to release 2 videos from the album in february
Q; I see you play a lot live these days, tell me whats the best things about being on the road?
A: i think the best thing about being on the road and performing live is the people of course. the energy that you get from an audience (cooperative or hostile) is invaluable as a writer. seeing and feeling the reaction of people from all walks of life is both telling and inspiring.
Q: Earlier you covered John Mayer and Bob Dylan and such, are you doing any playing any new covers while touring these days?
A: i actually was doing “teenage dream” by Katy Perry which always went over well because it was unexpected and my band rock the shit out of it! “the weight” by the band has been a staple in the set lately.
Q: Last but not least, have you started thinking or planning a follow-up to your album? Where do you see your self next time? Any plans about how it will sound?
A: yes, I have a couple of ideas for albums. i would like to return to the sound of my first ‘lifeblood to my soul.’ i have a lot songs in the works. i also want put a collection of mostly acoustic songs that i record and produce in my apartment which will be pretty experimental since I’m not a producer. but I’m curious to see how people would react to it.
thanks so much man!!
I have lived with Jem Warrens great debut album for over a half-year – and have to say – Jem Warren is one of the best new singer-songwriter discoveries I´ve found in 2012.
“Heart Knows How” is a timeless album that will still live on years after we´d say goodbye to 2012.