Erica West  "Songbird"
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Erica West "Songbird"

Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
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Music/Erica West

From Insight News

Written by: Dwight Hobbs

Talent on the order of Twin Cities-based R&B songbird Erica West doesn't, to quote the old saw, come along every day. More the point, music lovers indeed are lucky if such a vocalist ever comes along at all. West more than sings. With hypnotic phrasing, subtle shading and a powerful range, she affords an emotional experience, holding you spellbound from first note to last.
Small wonder she has fast become one of the most well respected, avidly sought vocalists in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and worked with, among other area luminaries, Julius Collins of Greazy Meal fame, Ray Covington, Mint Condition guitarist Odell and J. D. Steele. When she fronted the R&B group The Project, they were in demand every Tuesday night at Bunkers Music Café. In addition, West consistently has performed before enthusiastic crowds at such venues as Jazzmines, Soul City, Bellanote, The Cabooze, Red Sea Bar and Escape Ultra Lounge.
Point in case. A recent gig saw her open at Trocaderos for the legendary S.O.S. Band. While a credit like that looks great on artists resume, the job of holding the sold-out crowds interest as they await such an esteemed headliner is by no means an easy one. But for Erica West, it was a piece of cake. She hit the stage, brandishing a world of charisma, airing out cast-iron chops and had them from the word go. In fact, she turned the night into de facto double-bill. Among the selections were hit-it-from-the-hip interpretations of Sade staples Nothing Can Come and Ordinary Love and rendition of Ain't Nobody (from Chaka Khans days with Rufus) that just would not stop rocking. Credit, of course, where credit is due, it didn't hurt that West had killer backup. The personnel: long-time West collaborator Todd Burrell (Prince, The Steeles) on keyboards, Sean "Smitty" Smith (The New Congress) on drums, ace bassist Johannes Tona, a trio of solid background singers (Stephanie Devine sitting first chair with Annie Miller and Bryan Langford) along with Odell, who, during Aint Nobody, strangled high notes out of the guitar like the instrument had something to him. Something low down and mean.
And she is versatile, as at home with a smoldering jazz ballad as she is with butt-thumping R&B. About a week before Trocaderos, accompanied by Burrell, West did a sedate, but nonetheless sensational set at the Metrodome Courtyard for a We Win Institute affair. Including an exquisite take on Sweet Love that summarily disabused one of the notion that nobody can do Anita Baker but Anita Baker. At her MySpace.com website, Erica notes, I've heard I sound like a few different people, but, people tend to want to compare you to a sound that they are familiar with. So. I don't usually think to much about it. True enough, West certainly has her own sound -- which makes it all the more fascinating when she does a cover.
There is no definitive word just yet as to whats going to be on her debut CD (in-progress, projected for early 2009 release), but expect it to draw on original material, both written by West and for her. I do write music, she notes, and, for my album, I have a song that I wrote with my friend and keyboard player, Todd Burrell. There are also other songs that I have written that will be on [the
album. I will also be recording songs that were written by my friends and fellow musicians. Stephanie Devine, a great friend of mine, has written some wonderful songs that I am in the process of recording. West adds, The lyrical content of what I am singing about is extremely important to me and it is what truly draws me to a song. Accordingly, in her repertoire are two thought-provoking gems by gifted team of Lance Alexander and Titia Calhoun-Smith. What a Women Needs reminds men that intimacy, more than being about physical proximity, calls for being personally in touch as in letting a lady know that when your away, shes still very much on your mind. And there is the topical gem I'm Leavin, in which a woman lays down the law about the ways in which her better had better not mess up. Which include putting his hand on her: its not about three strikes and you're out homeboy is headed for the door the first time he raises his fist.
All this and looks, too. An undeniable fact is you can have all the talent in the world these days, but its no longer the era of, say, Aretha, Al Green, et al. Mandatory in the market, one must be easy on the eyes an area Erica West has covered: in addition to being a world class vocalist and performer, she makes your average R&B diva look like a boy.
Ultimately, this lady of song is an emerging presence of profound consequence. - Insight News


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Bio

“Let me know whatever’s on your mind, say you love me sometimes- its what a woman needs…” Erica West is strong, confident, and sultry right out of the box. Her striking looks and mesmerizing vocals make an immediate impression on the senses. After watching just one of Erica West’s performances it becomes clear that what this woman needs is, well, nothing. She’s got it all. In a uniquely captivating way, Erica West brings a beautiful fusion of soulful, R&B, pop, rock and Jazz inspired melodies to the microphone. But do not let her silky vocals fool you. Erica brings a very powerful range.


Erica has had the opportunity to open for several different national recording acts including, Motown recording artist, Kem, husband and wife singing duo, Chante Moore and Kenny Latimore, as well as the Legendary SOS band. Erica was even fortunate enough to be joined on stage, by the illustrious artist known as Prince, one night while performing at a local jazz club. With a list like that it’s obvious that she is versatile, equally as at home with a smoldering jazz ballad as she is with R&B.

The thing that Erica is most passionate about in life is music. Whether singing it, making it, listening to it, or dancing with it. She is most alive when she is surrounded by music. She loves the true to the art of musicianship, lyrical content, beautiful melodies and music that demonstrates true emotional expression. With hypnotic phrasing, subtle shading, and a powerful range, she offers that emotional experience, holding you spellbound from the first note to the last. In fact, there’s not much that Erica can’t do. As a, celebrated singer, experienced actor, accomplished dancer, and event director she’s ready for anything that comes her way. She’s mastered all forms of the performing arts. There’s a passion that vibrates off of her and raptures her audience. That makes it easier than ever to separate her from the rest.