“You take the good with the bad and the bad with the broken,” Nuela Charles sings on "The Good Ones," a slinky, soulful, electro-pop number peppered with soaring, loosen-your-ponytail horns. You know the feeling you get when you listen to a great album and you want to shout it from the rooftops and let everyone know? "Aware" is precisely that kind of album — a smooth, triumphant, star-in-the-making album of retro soul and R&B with moody trip-hop and electronica, produced by Fred Brenton and Brad Smith. (Think Nelly Furtado in her earlier, earthier days.) There’s nothing bad or broken about this Edmonton artist’s second effort — from the sinister piano, whip-like snaps and stuttery vocals of "Throwdown" to the skip-along, summery vibe of "Take It Or Leave It" to the croony goodness of "Unfortunate Love," a smouldering piano ’n’ horn duet with Darren Frank. Unfortunate? Only if you don’t let Charles take charge of your stereo/iTunes.
-- Sandra Sperounes, Edmonton Journal
Nuela Charles is a Canadian, Swiss and Kenyan born singer-songwriter whose music crosses boundaries and unites musical genres. Be it hip-hop, pop, indie rock, R&B or soul, Nuela captures the spirit and confidence of them all. This alternative soul artist is currently based in Edmonton, Alberta but much like her music has lived an extremely diverse lifestyle – calling three continents and four different countries home.
Her first full-length album “A Different Kind of Fire” was nominated for a 2011 Western Canadian Music Award for Urban Recording and one of the tracks "Summer" received a TV licensing synch on the hit television show “Degrassi: Next Generation."
"Aware," released October 23, 2012, contains empowering, anthem tracks like "Take It Or Leave It" and "The Good In Me," to the cinematic and inquisitive "Final Round" and "Traveling Heart" - it’s dark, moody and uplifting at the same time. It has been called “a smooth, triumphant, star-in-the-making album of retro soul and R&B with moody trip-hop and electronica, “ by the Edmonton Journal and has been in and out of the Top 50 Canadian National !earshot Campus Radio Charts since it’s release without any promotion up to this point.
Taking advantage of her Swiss background, Nuela has been slowly making waves in Switzerland playing select shows and being chosen for a national compilation album in 2012. In 2013 Nuela will be expanding further internationally and will be releasing a special Japanese edition of her album on January 23, 2013 through production dessinee/Vivid Sound.
Chosen as one of the top music discoveries of 2012 by the Edmonton Journal, they have dubbed her to be “one of Edmonton’s next big things.”
For more about Nuela Charles please visit:
For more information:
!earshot Canadian Campus Charts
Week Nov. 13/2012: # 47 on Top 50 National Chart
November Top 200: #82
December Top 200: #78
Week Dec. 18/2012: # 22 on Top 50 National Chart
MAJOR PERFORMANCE LISTING
North by Northeast Music Festival
Showcase: C'est What
June 15, 2012
Breakout West Festival- YUKON
Showcase: The Rock Pub + Tippler's
Oct. 21+22, 2011
TransCanada Alberta Music Series
Mar. 24, 2011
Feb. 19, 2011
*+1000 in attendance
CFL National Anthem
Aug. 9, 2010
*EDM. vs. TOR +30,000 in attendance
2011 Western Canadian Music Awards - Urban Category
Nominated for "A Different Kind of Fire"
2011 GMA Canada Covenant Awards
Nominated for Urban/R&B Single: Circling Numbers - WON
Nominated for Best New Artist & Female Vocalist of the Year
2012 Edmonton Music Award R&B/Soul Album of the Year: The Golden Story EP - WON
Track "Summer" on DEGRASSI (TV) Episode 1118
Devin Hart - keyboard
Nuela Charles - Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Patrick Hughes - Electric Guitar
Andrew Miller - Drums
Reid Thiel - Bass
Aware (October 2012)
The Golden Story EP (June 2011)
A Different Kind of Fire (2010)
Three acts to watch in Edmonton
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NUELA CHARLES While a never-ending stream of artists seems to leave our city, Nuela Charles is on...NUELA CHARLES
While a never-ending stream of artists seems to leave our city, Nuela Charles is one of the few who recently moved to the Edmonton area.
The globe-trotting singer-songwriter — born in Kenya, raised in Switzerland, the Bahamas and Western Canada — admits the transition wasn’t smooth. When she came here in late 2009, Charles didn’t know a soul and, as a musician always holed up in recording studios and jam spaces, she found it difficult to meet people.
“Starting over is tough,” she says. “I wasn’t happy and coming from Vancouver to Edmonton, it was like … ‘Really’?”
Those “dark, lonely places in her life” laid the foundation for Aware, a sumptuous album of moody soul-pop ditties (The Good Ones, Crash) contrasted with joyous, or defiant, pep talks (Throwdown, Good In Me). “I wanted the songs to have depth to them but not all be love songs because honestly, that’s the last thing I was focusing on over the last few years. I didn’t want to fake my way through something, so I had to look at what I went through and how can I not make it TOO depressing?”
Produced by Brad Smith and Fred Brenton, the 10-song effort features haunting synths/pianos, sexy horns, sweet melodies and chopped-up vocals, a far cry from her early days as the girl with a guitar who wanted to be the next Avril Lavigne or even her last album, A Different Kind of Fire. The 2010 collection of piano and guitar tunes included Circling Numbers, which became a Christian radio hit and won Urban/R&B/Soul Song of the Year at the Gospel Music Association Covenant Awards in 2011.
“There’s only one guitar on Aware, on the song, Take It Or Leave It, but it’s barely there,” laughs Charles, who changed her stage name from Manuela to partly reflect her new sonic identity. “We wanted to make the rest of the songs sound bigger and paint a picture without it being your standard singer-songwriter album. It’s totally out of my comfort zone, but Brad and Fred did an amazing job.”
Talk about an understatement. Aware feels futuristic, yet retro and manages to cover a variety of genres — pop, urban, soul, indie — without sounding like it’s trying too hard. No wonder Charles can muster support from different corners — she might be Edmonton’s ultimate crossover star. Rawlco Radio, which runs a pop station, up! 99.3 FM, and a Top 40/oldies station, 102.3 Now!, gave her a $10,000 grant to record Aware while Hot 107, a pop-dance format, gave her another $10,000 for packaging and design. Released in late October, the album went on to make the best-of-2012 lists of many Edmonton writers and hit No. 22 on Canada’s campus radio charts. “It’s crazy,” she says.
In the coming months, Charles will play across the country — with stops at Canadian Music Week in Toronto and the TransCanada Alberta Music Series in Calgary — and Switzerland, Germany and Japan. (Her album will be released through a Tokyo label at the end of January.) She also plans to release a video for Aware’s most-talked-about single, Unfortunate Love, a sassy, soulful duet featuring local singer-songwriter Darren Frank.
“The last year has been really good. I feel like I’ve grown in community with other musicians. I think it really hit when I went to North by Northeast in Toronto last year — all us Edmonton artists would go to each other’s shows. I thought ‘These people are awesome, they care, there’s a community, and I want to be a part of it even more so.’
“I’ve been really happy lately. It’s choosing to be happy and find the good in where I am and make the most of it. No one else makes you happy but you — YOU need to get at it.”
Charles will celebrate her 28th birthday this Saturday at the Haven Social Club with hip-hop crew Politic Live. Tickets are $7 plus service charges at yeglive.ca.
SANDRA SPEROUNES, EDMONTON JOURNAL
January 15, 2013
Nuela Charles takes control
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Nuela Charles was surprised when she got back the photos from her album cover shoot; the final resul...Nuela Charles was surprised when she got back the photos from her album cover shoot; the final results would be a cover to which she would object — for a while.
“I got the photos done in town; we sent them to the designer, and he came back with [the album cover] as his final choice and I was like, ‘no!’ I sat on it for a couple of days, and I showed it to a really close-knit, tight group of people and they were going ‘yes, that is it!’ So I just let it go,” she says with a bit of a laugh.
That fine line between having complete control over every aspect of one’s career and allowing others room to contribute worthwhile suggestions is a tricky act for Charles, especially in the wake of Aware, the Edmonton-based singer’s second album and its growing success — success which now requires more people to be involved with the massive amount of growing hype.
Her first album, A Different Kind of Fire, based in acoustic soul, clearly got people’s attention — it was nominated for several Western Canadian Music awards.
But Aware might just be the first fully formed example of the Nuela Charles sound. With the release, alternative soul gets breached and jolted with electro, hip-hop and a pop sensibility that’s equally as welcoming as contradictory.
It hovers in a similar zone as the works of artists like Corrine Bailey Rae, Kimbra and Lana Del Rey — at times sounding like a contemporary album and at times a throwback.
Despite sounding like the culmination of years and years of meticulous planning, Aware was only written and recorded less than two years after A Different Kind of Fire.
The entire process from recording studio to packaged CD was funded entirely with grant money and done entirely in Edmonton. It was named as an album of the year in The Edmonton Journal and charted high on campus radio stations across the country, all without the push of a publicist, manager or agent.
Besides acquiring one or two of those to help push the album further, future plans also include working on a follow up and touring, as well as playing shows as far away as Toronto, Switzerland and Japan.
For someone who’s always worked in administrative positions, self-promotion and management isn’t too far off for Charles, even with the amount of attention increasing in the months following Aware’s release.
“It’s the same thing. I like organizing and planning, routing and making sure everything is where it’s supposed to be,” she says.
“It’s part of who I am; it’s just getting to be too much. When I have all the control, I can say what I do, what I don’t do.”
“At the same time, having a huge label behind you would be nice to be able to push you in front of audiences [that] would take me longer to get in front of.”
But with tours to book and future music to look forward to, will Aware then remain the ultimate exercise in DIY, or something that was meant to sustain the beginnings of a career for Nuela Charles? When judging the quality of the album, perhaps both are the answer.
“I’m really excited about everything, [but] it’s hard to focus on it because I’m always constantly thinking ‘what am I doing next?’ I kinda hope I can pass it on to someone else and just share, but I can’t see myself doing anything else but music,” she says.
“For me — that’s all I know right now.”
Best of 2012: Top CDs of the year chosen by staff and readers
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EDMONTON - It’s been a memorable year for our city’s Arts & Life scene, and it’s time to look back a...EDMONTON - It’s been a memorable year for our city’s Arts & Life scene, and it’s time to look back at the highlights, provided by Journal writers and our readers.
Today: The best CDs
Monday, Dec. 31: The best outings/vacationsWhat’s the best new music you heard this year? Was it something local by an up-and-coming star such as Corb Lund or an album by an international performer like Jack White?
We asked our music critics, other writers and our readers. Here are their choices:
Here are my Top 10 music discoveries of 2012:
1. Songza: OK, so this isn’t an album … it’s a free song-streaming app for your smartphone.
Songza offers playlists for hundreds of moods, activities, times of day and genres — such as Curing Road Rage, Hanging Out In The Man Cave, Rap’s New Weirdos, Waking Up Next To A Synthesizer, and my current favourite, An Evening In London.
You’ll discover so many new artists with each listen, you might not ever want to buy another album again. (Which isn’t exactly a good thing …)
Songza could be the future of music — for the next three months, anyway.
2. Purity Ring, Shrines
Bow down to this Edmonton-bred duo … and their stunner of an electro-pop debut.
Shrines mixes Corin Roddick’s chilly electro-beats with the bright-eyed vocals of Megan James to create a soundscape perfect for a Hobbits-meet-Aliens film.
3. Nuela Charles, Aware
This soulful, trip-hop/R&B singer, formerly known as Manuela, is one of Edmonton’s next big things — along with Aware’s producer, Mr. Smith.
Together, they’ve crafted a fresh and fierce album, which alternates between bold and breezy, sassy and sinister, electro and earthy — yet it never sounds like a Frankenstein monster. Spine-tingling.
4. Radio Soulwax, Dave
Take dozens of David Bowie’s songs, remix and mash them up together, then shoot an hour-long video with an actress who looks like the Thin White Duke.
This multimedia project, created by two Belgian brothers known as Radio Soulwax, is a touching — and apropos — homage to one of the first rock stars to harness the power of the Internet.
Dave is not a traditional album — you can listen to/watch it on Vimeo, a video streaming site, or via Radio Soulwax’s free app.
Bowie may never record or perform again — I wince as I type those words — but Dave feels like a new effort. You’ll get lost in it for hours.
5. Jack White, Blunderbuss
Rock isn’t dead, but why does the retro-flavoured stuff — à la Jack White, The Black Keys, Alabama Shakes — seem the most invigorating?
Blunderbuss runs the gamut from country-rock to swampy blues to Elvis swivel. Unlike his previous work with The White Stripes, The Raconteurs or The Dead Weather, White’s solo debut feels like his most raw and vulnerable effort to date.
6. Born Gold, Little Sleepwalker
Artists who use software to manipulate their vocals usually get a bad rap for “cheating” or creating emotionally detached tunes.
Not Born Gold, also known as Edmonton’s Cecil Frena. His second glitch-pop demonstrates digital alterations can be even more primal and gut-wrenching than the real thing.
7. Cat Power, Sun
She’s not the most emotionally stable — or consistent — performer, but away from prying eyes, Cat Power is a force in the studio.
Her ninth effort, Sun, is a heavy-hearted pseudo-dance album, layered with sumptuous vocals, electro-rock riffs, smouldering pianos, introspective lyrics and Iggy Pop’s one decent cameo of 2012.
Cat’s power? Sounding like she’s about to wilt only to right herself and stand even taller.
8. Japandroids, Celebration Rock
A glorious frenzy of ’80s-inspired punk, sweetened by the melodic chants of Vancouver’s Brian King and David Prowse.
9. Frank Ocean, Channel Orange
Frank and futuristic R&B — Ocean often sounds like he should be singing in a Blade Runner-style (strip) club. Understated yet bold, with a ragged falsetto to warm the coldest of hearts.
10. Kuhrye-oo, Kuhrye-oo
Like his friends and kindred spirits — Purity Ring, Born Gold — this Edmonton-bred producer knows how to create spooky, skittery electro-pop.
— Sandra Sperounes
Best Imports: 2012
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I love that music brings the world together. This year, we were introduced to a bunch of sick non-U....I love that music brings the world together. This year, we were introduced to a bunch of sick non-U.S. bands/artists, but 3 in particular stand out.
1. Forever After
Forever After (Essex, UK) released their “Pictures” EP this year and won over fans all over. While they remain in the UK they can be assured that coming to the U.S. in 2013 is definitely plausible.
2. A Tale of Two Cities
ATOTC (Bristol, UK) released ”New Horizons” this year and it is ah-may-zing. I’m especially addicted to their single, “Four Words.”
3. Nuela Charles
Nuela (Canada) released her album, “Aware” to rave reviews this fall. Her soulful voice resonated with fans and will only pivot her to international success in the new year.
A Few Overlooked Acts in 2012
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Album #2: Aware by Nuela Charles Combining the moody sensibility of Lana Del Rey and the old-time...Album #2: Aware by Nuela Charles
Combining the moody sensibility of Lana Del Rey and the old-time sound of Amy Winehouse with her own firecracker style, Nuela Charles has created a set of honest, soulful pop songs ranging from emphatic empowerment to dramatic introspection. She covers a spectrum of experiences: heartache, confidence, rebirth, uncertainly, loneliness, and love. It’s not perfect (the fade-out at the end is a little underwhelming, and the single piano note repeating itself throughout the first track overstays its welcome), but when Charles hits her stride, the result is powerful. This is an album full of inspiring vocal delivery and intense emotional relatability. The album is available on Bandcamp.
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)
by Elena Gritzan
!Earshot Radio Charts: #22 on the Top 50 National Chart
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After being released almost two months ago (October 23, 2012) "Aware" makes a re-entry into the Top ...After being released almost two months ago (October 23, 2012) "Aware" makes a re-entry into the Top 50 National Radio Chart at #22 for the week ending December 18, 2012.
Top Album Released in 2012 in Edmonton
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GigCity.ca just posted their Top 10 Albums for 2012 released from Edmonton. Honoured to be #2! ...GigCity.ca just posted their Top 10 Albums for 2012 released from Edmonton.
Honoured to be #2!
Check out the other AWESOME artists as well. Edmonton's chalk full of them!!
Nuela Charles creates a musical blend beyond definition
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Corrine Bailey Rae, Erykah Badu. Nuela Charles has been compared to many artists. Joss Stone, ...Corrine Bailey Rae, Erykah Badu.
Nuela Charles has been compared to many artists.
Joss Stone, Jill Scott.
Seems that no one can quite nail down the Edmonton musician’s sound.
Nelly Furtado, Adele.
Of course, if the bloggers, critics and fans insist on typecasting Charles, they could do worse than mentioning her in the same breath as Grammy winners.
“It’s actually praise,” says Charles. “Those artists are amazing at what they do, and I think with anything, people need a reference point.
“I would rather sound like somebody than nobody at all. For me, it’s just easier as a consumer to see a new artist and have (someone) say, ‘Oh this one sounds like John Mayer or Alicia Keys’, and I’d be like, ‘Oh yeah, that be cool. I should check that out.’
“So I’m definitely flattered, and I get all kinds of comparisons ... I’ll have comparisons to Sheryl Crow, and I’ll be like, ‘Oh that’s nice, thank you.’”
What everyone can seem to agree on is that Charles’ newly released second album, Aware, is a spectacular work of art. Aware, which blends classic soul and R&B with electronic nuances and nods to hip-hop into 10 tracks that would be equally at home in a smoky jazz club or on top 40 radio, has been generating serious buzz, although Charles cheerfully admits she’s not quite sure how.
“The difference between this and my first album (2010’s A Different Kind of Fire, which received a Western Canadian Music Award nomination for urban recording) is I consciously sat down to write for this project,” Charles says. “I knew I had an upcoming recording and needed songs for it, but I didn’t want it to be an album of separate individual tracks, I wanted to have a flow to all of them.
“Lyrically it was just more about being honest with myself and about where I was at that point in the process when I was writing it,” she continues. “I didn’t want it to be a lot of love songs, because I think that’s too easy.”
“I wanted it to mean something differently, so what one song means to me could mean totally differently for someone else, but their themes are totally universal so that anyone can relate to them. I didn’t want to be too specific to myself that people would feel left out.”
Perhaps what makes Aware so unique, and widely embraced by so many listeners who hear in so many different ways, is Charles’ wildly diverse background.
Born in her mother’s native Kenya, Charles soon moved to Switzerland, where her father is from. The family came to Canada when she was six, and lived on a B.C. cattle ranch for several years, before moving to the Bahamas. Charles returned to Canada and finished high school in Calgary, and – save for a brief spell in Vancouver -- has spent the majority of the last decade in Edmonton.
It was in the Alberta capital where Aware was conceived, written, recorded and produced in its entirety. And it was done completely with Edmonton artists.
“That’s the most shocking for some people who weren’t part of the process,” says Charles. “They ask me, was it done in Toronto (or) Vancouver? I’m like, ‘No, this was all done in Edmonton.
“There are super-talented people here, it’s just that (Edmonton musicians) aren’t recognized for their work and sometimes people aren’t willing to step outside their comfort zone to create something that might be different for Edmonton or Canada.”
Charles, who grew up listening to divas Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston but is currently influenced by the genre-blending ways of pop songstress Lana Del Ray, has most certainly created something different, and it’s resonating at home (she has received a coveted invite to play Canadian Music Week in Toronto in March) and abroad (she plays her first show in Switzerland next month).
As Charles is about to discovered by legions of new fans, forget about comparing her to anyone else.
Nuela Charles sounds like ... Nuela Charles.
Nuela Charles plays the ARTery on Nov. 23
Log on to nuelacharles.com to buy Aware
R&B/Soul Album of the Week (Oct.23/12)
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AWARE Nuela Charles Kenyan-born, Edmonton-based singer-songwriter Neula Charles delivers a smoul...AWARE
Kenyan-born, Edmonton-based singer-songwriter Neula Charles delivers a smouldering, sometimes slinky collection of retro-fitted soul, jazz, hip-hop, R&B on this bespoke album. Some have compared her with Corrine Bailey Rae and Erykah Badu but stylistically she’s a great deal more than just a cover girl. Charles bust through on her debut album “Circling Numbers” which made top 40 in the Top 100 albums of 2011. This polished sounding song collection can be purchased as a download or as a CD on her Bandcamp page.
Album Review: Aware (Edmonton Journal)
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Album: Aware Artist: Nuela Charles (Independent) Rating: 4 "You take the good with the bad a...Album: Aware
Artist: Nuela Charles (Independent)
"You take the good with the bad and the bad with the broken," Nuela Charles sings on The Good Ones, a slinky, soulful, electro-pop number peppered with soaring, loosen-your-ponytail horns.
You know the feeling you get when you listen to a great album and you want to shout it from the rooftops and let everyone know? Aware is precisely that kind of album - a smooth, triumphant, star-in-the-making album of retro soul and R&B with moody trip-hop and electronica. (Think Nelly Furtado in her earlier, earthier days.)
There's nothing bad or broken about this Edmonton artist's second effort - from the sinister piano, whip-like snaps and stuttery vocals of Throwdown to the skip-along, summery vibe of Take It Or Leave It to the croony goodness of Unfortunate Love, a smouldering piano 'n' horn duet with Darren Frank. Unfortunate? Only if you don't let Charles take charge of your stereo/ iTunes.
She celebrates the release of Aware on Saturday, Oct. 20 at The Elevation Room at Transcend Cafe on Jasper Avenue. Tickets are $10 plus service charges at yeglive.ca.
Sandra Sperounes, Edmonton Journal
5 Reasons to be "Aware" of Nuela Charles
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Truth: Canadian songstress just released her full-length album, “Aware.” The 10-track soulful alb...Truth:
Canadian songstress just released her full-length album, “Aware.” The 10-track soulful album is available on iTunes.
There are so many reasons to love Western Canadian artist, Nuela Charles, in my opinion, but I’ve narrowed it down to 5:
1. The United States has this huge fascination with “foreign imports.” Adele, Justin Bieber, and One Freakin’ Direction all found HUGE success in the States despite their residence in a different country. Nuela Charles isn’t exactly promoting in the U.S., but she has mega potential with her Corinne Bailey Rae mixed with Adele appeal.
2. She can sing better than 90% than the pop market. In a world where autotune is a singer’s secret weapon, Nuela could be compared to David in the fight against Goliath. Her album is free of autotune; her voice feels so raw and real. Her effortlessly soulful vocals are desirable in a market that hails Adele but can’t wait for Adele to finish maternity leave.
3. Charles is a no frills kinda girl. The album sounds like a lively jazz concert. “The Good Ones” gets you up dancing with the exciting horns section, while “Crash” is an emotional piano piece. There’s no bass-dropping or half-timing; Charles sticks to being real.
4. “The Good In Me”–The song is begging to be a radio single. It’s a soulful, electropop track that could easily be blasted after Fun. on the Top 40 countdown. The reggae influence adds a sexy aspect to Charles otherwise wholesome vibe. If your hips aren’t gyrating to the beat of this track, you’re either hard of hearing or just don’t know how to dance.
5. Her album just dropped and it won’t be long before people will be swooning over her.
The album is chock full of amazing songs. Sounding like the next generation of Erykah Badu or Joss Stone, Charles is standing out in a pop tart music market. Her unconventional tracks have jazz, soul, reggae, and rock influences that can appease any type of listener. From the mind-altering, Frank Ocean-like instrumentals in “Throwdown,” to the easy-breezy “Take It Or Leave,” Charles demonstrates her versatility and range of pure awesomeness.
You can purchase Nuela Charles’s album, “Aware,” on iTunes today!
Recommended tracks: “Take It or Leave It,” “The Good Ones,” “The Good in Me,” “Unfortunate Love (feat. Darren Frank),” “The Sound”
Nuela Charles - Aware
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Canadian singer-songwriter and 2011 Western Canadian Music Award nominee, Nuela Charles release the ...Canadian singer-songwriter and 2011 Western Canadian Music Award nominee, Nuela Charles release the first preview from her up coming album, Aware.
Straight off the bat I have to say that as soon as Unfortunate Love started, I knew I wanted to hear the rest of the album. This track sounds like real, back in the day soul, it kicks in with deep rumbling horns and staccato piano that reminds me of I Put a Spell on You. Nuela‘s vocals are wonderful to listen to, she has great control over her power and a smooth tone that fits perfectly with her style. Darren Frank, the feature on Unfortunate Love also holds up on the track and the two compliment each other well vocally. Aware drops on October 23, 2012 and you can pre-order your copy right now by going to Nuela Charles‘ Bandcamp here (nuelacharles.bandcamp.com)
Talent Spotlight: Nuela Charles
Talent Spotlight: Video of live performance of "Take It Or Leave It"
NXNE 2012 Live Review
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Two new great artist that I discovered as part of the NXNE Music, Film & Interactive Festival here i...Two new great artist that I discovered as part of the NXNE Music, Film & Interactive Festival here in Toronto at the C’est What Music Bar & Lounge were, Nuela Charles and Chloe Charles (no relation.) Not only was the venue were they performed a great space, but as I’ve mentioned in a previous post the likes of Feist and Barenaked Ladies have had sessions there as well. Both Charles’ bring to the table, exceptional lyrics and an authentic perspective from their music… see review below.
Album “A Different Kind Of Fire”
NUELA CHARLES is a Canadian, Swiss and Kenyan born singer-songwriter whose soul infused music, vocal range and depth can be compared to the likes of Erykah Badu, Jill Scott and Corrine Bailey Rae. Armed with an acoustic guitar and without the support of her band, Nuela took to the stage with the confidence and ease of a veteran artist. Nuela, smiling, engaged the audience by saying “You will be my family tonight.” Instantly warming and building a relation with the patrons. With Nuela we laughed, clapped and tapped our feet as she introduced and shared each song with us.
There is a strength and quiet confidence that Nuela evokes while strumming on her guitar and vibing to the music. Her voice, effortlessly powerful and controlled is more than arresting, it is enchanting as she navigates the jazz inspired scat with amazing ease.
NUELA’s full-length album “A Different Kind Of Fire” was a nominee for the 2011 Western Canada Music Award in the category of Urban Recording. The single “Circling Numbers” gained Nuela the 2011 Gospel Music Association (GMA) Covenant Award for Urban/R&B/Soul Single of the Year as well as being featured on the TV series Degrassi. In addition to her win, Nuela received two other nominations for Best Female Artist and Best New Artist. Nuela is currently based in Edmonton, Alberta and can be reached on her website HERE!
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Let’s just get this out of the way first. Manuela has lived more places than you. She’s probably mor...Let’s just get this out of the way first. Manuela has lived more places than you. She’s probably more cultured than you. And chances are, she can sing better, too. Born to Kenyan and Swiss parents, the soulful chanteuse has lived on all over the western hemisphere, but currently resides in Canada. But as multicultural as her background is, Manuela’s music speaks the universal language of pop. Her limber voice has an almost jazz sensibility, lilting up and down scales on the percussive piano bop of “Circling Numbers” or the decisive punch of keys and spinning chorus of “Golden.” On “More Than A Friend” the chanteuse shifts into a simple melody made out of a shimmering organ and acoustic guitar. Multicultured and multitalented. Some girls got it all.
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“Golden” – The Manuela: The deep, rich intro of this track evokes the gripping lines of a Sara Barei...“Golden” – The Manuela: The deep, rich intro of this track evokes the gripping lines of a Sara Bareilles song. The song is upbeat despite a somber theme, the lyrics are relatable and catchy, but what really makes this song worth a second listen is the standout vocal track. Check it out and enjoy!
Houston's death leaves huge void for Edmonton artist
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As people around the world mourn the loss a global star, a local singer songwriter is thanking Whitn...As people around the world mourn the loss a global star, a local singer songwriter is thanking Whitney Houston for being an inspiration.
The Edmonton-based Manuela says if it wasn't for Houston she probably wouldn't be singing.
"Whitney Houston is the first person I tried to sing along to and I'd kind of say that she taught me how to sing cause I would just sing everything of hers. She was absolutely a huge inspiration in what I'm doing now," says Manuela.
Whitney Houston's death leaves a huge void for future inspiration, says Manuela.
"Of the current top selling artists of today none of them really have, in my opinion, the quality of voice that she has. Just the purity of it."
Manuela released her own soulful album two years ago and was nominated for a Western Canadian Music Award last year.
The 27-year-old artist hopes young singer songwriters continue to listen and learn from the global icon.
Sound and the City
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One of the things I've admired since I came to Edmonton is the residents willingness to not just per...One of the things I've admired since I came to Edmonton is the residents willingness to not just persevere during the harsh winter months, but to actually embrace the snowy, bitter cold elements. We're seeing plenty of examples of this these days, with the Deep Freeze Festival wrapped up, the Ice On Whyte kicking off, and Metropolis, which continues in Churchill Square.
A celebration of another kind is in store Saturday night. It's a winter festival on the legislature grounds to mark the 30th anniversary of the twinning of Alberta and its sister province, Heilongjiang, China. What better way for music fans to celebrate the coming together of two northern provinces, than to witness a budding partnership in Edmonton's urban music scene, live and in-person.
Politic Live is a family affair. Brother MCs Dirt Gritie and Bigga Nolte along with their cousin Marlon Wilson, AKA Arlo Maverick, have been performing since they were kids. They formed Politic Live (which also includes DJ Sonny Grimezz) in 2002, and have since recorded two full-length albums, 2003's self-titled debut and Adaptation in 2006, in addition to various solo efforts and side projects.
Wilson says the group, which has opened for hip hop heavy weights like Nas, Public Enemy and Snoop Dogg, spent much of 2011 recording tracks for a third album, which they hope to release in 2012. "We're a lot more focused on making sure the album is a lot closer to what it needs to be for it to be worth the wait."
Performing solid, thought-provoking hip hop isn't the only thing Politic Live strives for. Community building is an important part of the group's story. Ten years since their first "Hip Hop For Hunger," over 8,000 pounds of food has been donated to the Edmonton Food Bank through the event.
Having achieved so much in their ten years together (earning various grants, getting airplay on Much Music, touring across the country), Politic Live is also focused on helping up and coming local artists. "Anyone who is familiar with us knows we've always been a group that has tried to mentor and offer guidance to up and coming artists, just in the sense of the mistakes we made, and things that we've learned," says Wilson. "Whether it's our successes or things we had to learn through trial and error, we want to make sure the next generation can avoid those (struggles) so that the scene itself can be stronger and compete, not just nationally but internationally as well." Wilson points to Souljah Fyah, Cadence Weapon and Kreesha Turner as proof that urban music from Edmonton can be exported around the globe. "It's a scene that is growing. There have been so many artists, DJs, or just people in the music community have left (Edmonton) to go to bigger cities, but the generation that we have now is one which is proud of being from Edmonton, and one that is going to stay to make Edmonton flourish and be just as competitive as Toronto is now."
One of those artists is The Manuela, a singer-songwriter who sings soulful pop, often backed by her own accoustic guitar. Now settled in St. Albert, Manuela studied music at Briercrest College in Saskatchewan, where she learned guitar and piano. She's seen and done a lot in her 26 years, which gives her an endless amount of writing material. She was born in Kenya, lived in Switzerland and BC, before settling in the Edmonton area. Wilson recounts meeting her a couple of years back at an Alberta Music Event, Urban Exposure, which he was hosting. "There was a demo critique session, and she submitted a song called Circling Numbers, and if you ever hear this song, you'll know that it is something you cannot resist moving to the moment you hear it." Right away, Wilson knew this was an artist he had to work with. "I reached out to her and said I love your voice, I love the song, can we work on something and since then, we've recorded probably close to six or seven songs together, in addition to performing with her numerous times."
Manuela calls working with the guys "a blast," and cheekily refers to herself as an honorary member of the group. "It's just so much fun to be able to be up there and to get the crowd going. It's so different from what I do myself, but it's also inspired me to kind of branch out, and to put down my instrument and move around, and get the crowd going. I've definitely learned a lot."
Wilson has similar praise for the partnership. "Manuela is one of the funnest artists to work with. She's very professional and brings a lot of creative ideas to the table. She's like a little sister to us."
That "little sister" had a really big 2011. In addition to sharing the stage with hip hop legends like Ghostface Killah and Raekwon (she insists it was really fun to be able to sing to a different audience), one of her songs was featured in an episode of Degrassi. "Last summer, I was on tour across Canada, and the company that was pitching my songs e-mailed me and told me Degrassi wanted to use one my songs for an episode." The timing was fitting she says, as it came at a bit of a low moment of the tour. "It was on the one day that I was over my tour. I wanted to go home. I was lonely, I was tired, and then I got the e-mail, and on the same day I got a nomination for a Western Canadian Music Award (Urban Recording of the Year), so it became like the best day ever."
Expect plenty of collaboration with her fellow Western Canadian Music Award nominees Saturday night, when they hit the stage, which apparently sits in a (heated) tent on the 'leg grounds. "We've done a few shows out in the cold," boasts Wilson, "luckily it's never been anything too too cold, but we're prepared for it, we'll be fine. It's just a matter of the audience feeding off the energy and giving it back to us so they're just as warm as we are, and maybe we'll all be dripping with sweat in -10 weather," he laughs.
Manuela has some cold weather performances under her belt. "I played for Balcony TV, so I played a song out in the balcony and I think it was like -20. My hands were freezing."
Look for new music from Politic Live and The Manuela in 2012, and don't be surprised to see them sharing a stage or two as they continue to build on the solid foundation of urban music that's rising out of Alberta's capital.
Politic Live, The Manuela and A.O.K. play the Legislature Grounds, Saturday, January 14, 2012.
Western Canadian Music Awards Nominees...
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At least eight Edmonton acts are nominated for the 2011 edition of the Western Canadian Music Awards...At least eight Edmonton acts are nominated for the 2011 edition of the Western Canadian Music Awards:
* Hey Romeo, That’s What I Am: Country Recording of the Year
* Manuela, A Different Kind of Fire: Urban Recording of the Year
* Souljah Fyah, I Wish: Urban Recording of the Year
* Peter Belec, Melodic Miner: Jazz Recording of the Year
* Wool on Wolves, Grey Matter: Rock Recording of the Year
* Raphael Freynet, Le monde a voir: Francophone Recording of the Year
* FEENIX, Collabanation: Aboriginal Recording of the Year
* Dave Babcock and his Jump Orchestra, Jump To It: Instrumental Recording of the Year
This year’s WCMAs will be awarded Sunday, Oct. 23 at the Yukon Arts Centre in Whitehorse as part of BreakOut West, a celebration of music from Alberta, B.C., Northwest Territories, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Yukon.
For a full list of nominees, visit http://breakoutwest.ca/awards/
Albertan music for Albertans
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Luka Symons has been involved in various levels of the Calgary music scene for nine years, so when i...Luka Symons has been involved in various levels of the Calgary music scene for nine years, so when it came time to step up to the plate as the programmer for the TransCanada Alberta Music Series, she was the proverbial kid in a candy store.
The candy store, in this case, was more than 140 submissions for the 14th year of the series. Symons, now in her second year as the programmer, has spent weeks meticulously combing the submissions and crafting playlist after playlist to form the perfect four nights of music. Throughout the week, expect the ukulele strumming of Edmonton’s Doug Hoyer, the soulful jazz of Johanna Sillanpaa, the ramshackle indie rock of Axis of Conversation and plenty, plenty more.
“The idea that somebody trusts me with what I think works and that people will support me in this means a lot,” says Symons, who is also on the board of directors of Alberta Music. “It’s important to have that trust and responsibility.”
Toiling over playlists was just the beginning, though. Symons filled her wall with Post-it notes and went over every possible detail: Gender, region, city and genre representation, the logistic sense and who has played before versus who should have played before.
“I wish that I had four weeks of music,” says Symons. “No night would be a dud at all.”
But why is it so important to her that every band gets their turn? Symons feels the Alberta talent pool is often overlooked, not only by the rest of the world, but by the province itself. This sentiment is echoed by many Alberta artists.
“This series is important because it showcases Alberta talent,” says Manuela, who will be performing during session two on Thursday, March 24. “Big name acts come through and will be promoted way above local acts. Every province should be promoting their own talent. Why do we promote these people who aren’t even from Alberta when we have all this talent here?”
Manuela has only been in Alberta for a year, having lived in Kenya, Switzerland and the Bahamas. As a result, she has had some difficulty making her mark in the Alberta scene. For her, being chosen for the series is a push in the right direction.
“I feel like I have something to contribute,” says Manuela. “And they chose me because they feel I can contribute.”
Reuben Bullock is another musician performing at session two who finds the exposure from the series, as well as Symons’s devotion, to be invaluable.
“It was good fortune to get in,” says Bullock. “Last year’s lineup was super strong, and I felt it was an accurate depiction of Alberta music. There’s a disconnect between the general public and the music they listen to. The radio mainly showcases international talent, and who knows where these people come from? There are lots of strong local acts who deserve this sort of recognition. This helps bridge the gap between people who want to listen to this music and the artists.”
According to Symons, bridging that gap is more important than ever, and the time of Alberta talent being overlooked is coming to a close.
“There are a lot of music fests going on in Alberta,” says Symons. “There wouldn’t be so much going on if there wasn’t so much good music here. There was a time people would leave Alberta to make music. Well, times are changing and people are staying here or coming here to make music. And I’m stoked.”
With Symons’s tenacity and a diverse lineup of devoted and talented musicians, there’s only one big hurdle the series has to pass now: Space. Last year three out of four shows sold out. This year looks no different.
Good Girls with Guitars
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Girls didn't just own the podium at the Olympics. They're also staking their claim to the stages ...Girls didn't just own the podium at the Olympics.
They're also staking their claim to the stages in and around Edmonton, thanks to an influx of up 'n' coming girls with guitars such as Erica Viegas, Ariane Mahryke Lemire and Manuela Wuthrich.
All three are overachievers with global visions. They speak at least two languages. They like to travel. They take charge of their own careers, and in some cases, devote their time and talent to humanitarian efforts.
"I think people who write music are generally inquisitive and you get a lot of inspiration from watching people -- and what better way to watch people than to explore the world?" says Viegas, who works as a fundraiser for the faculty of dentistry at the University of Alberta.
As luck would have it, all three musicians are promoting new albums -- joyful, poppy efforts showcasing their worldly, soulful vocals. Here's a quick introduction to three local indie songstresses:
By the time she was 15, she likely had more stamps in her passport than George W. Bush did on the eve of his inauguration. Wuthrich was born in Kenya, went to kindergarten in Switzerland, spent her childhood in British Columbia, then moved to the Bahamas in her teens. "I started playing in church there," she says. "I taught myself the guitar and the piano. As soon as I could play, they had me up there. I started recording with the church, then writing my own songs. Stylistically, in the Bahamas, you only have reggae or soca, and so I sought inspiration from Avril Lavigne. I started off writing angst-filled songs, but once we moved back to Canada, I started finding my sound -- jazz stylings with pop influences."
Latest album: A Different Kind of Fire, issued in February. It's her third effort -- Wuthrich released The Love EP in 2008 and Some Kind of Wonderful in 2003. "My voice has changed over the years. It's more jazzy and soulful," she says. "This album has a lot more depth to it."
Lyrical inspirations: As nonchalant as she now is about her family's globe-trotting adventures, she knows it's shaped her as a person and a musician. At 25, she's still a free spirit -- having lived in Saskatchewan, Alberta and B.C. in pursuit of her musical dreams. She now lives in Sherwood Park with her parents. "It's really hard starting over," says the English/Swiss/German-speaking daughter of a Kenyan mother and a Swiss father. "In a way, it's made me really quiet. I've become very observant in all of this."
Business savvy: For her first tour of Alberta and British Columbia, Wuthrich was smart enough to recruit sponsors to help with the costs. Budget chipped in with a van, while a hotel chain provided her with rooms in Kamloops and Kelowna. "For me, it's difficult to ask anyone for money, so getting over that was the hardest part. But looking at it as a business, I can offer these people my services, and if I don't ask, how will I know if they're willing to help?"
Next up: Wuthrich performs Thursday, March 25 at Cafe Haven in Sherwood Park, and she's starting to plot out her next tour, slated for September.
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My set can range from any length needed, 20-60 minutes.
All songs are original; with a couple of covers if time allowed.
PDF RiderInput List for Nuela Charles & Band
There are no upcoming dates at this time.