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"R & B Fridays w/MoeSoul and Femi"

Maybe it’s something in the Bay Area water that’s made the region such fertile soil for sultry soul, R&B and funk singers over the years, but whatever it is-from the Pointer Sisters to Sugar Pie DeSanto to the current crop of soul, hip hop and rock influenced musicians-there’s no denying that the Bay’s soul.

MoeSoul and Femi are two of the shining stars in a galaxy of talented but largely underground singers hitting up spoken word spots and jazz joints around the area. The Oakland divas to be have been putting in work for years, gigging from Jack London to Lagos and playing gigs with everyone from Les Nubian to Nelson Mandela.

MoeSoul is more of the straight ahead R&B singer. With sweet songs of lost loves, found loves and all the holdovers in between, she adds a moving soundtrack to the art getting busy. Femi’s music is a bit harder and belies her African and Puerto Rican heritage as she blends soul and hip hop with hints of salsa and rock-a little bit Mary J Blige rolled in with a little Tribe Called Quest and Celia Cruz.

Catch both singers performing with a live band tonight as part of Maxwell’s R&B Friday’s series. Proof that the funky legacy continues.

R & B Fridays w/MoeSoul and Femi
$10 presale, $15 at the door
Maxwell’s Restaurant & Lounge
341 13th Street, Oakland
www.maxwellslounge.com - Kwan Booth

"Shining star: an interview wit’ vocalist Femi"

The Afro-Puerto Rican Oakland native soul singer known as Femi has been making a name for herself all over the nation with her melodic, captivating sound. She makes mature music whose sound reminds me of African-European musicians like Sade, Incognito, with a little Brand New Heavies mixed into the pot.

The first time that I saw her perform was last summer at the Dwayne Wiggins-sponsored free summer concerts at Arroyo Park in East Oakland, when she opened up for Confunkshun and killed it wit’ her seven-piece live band SoulCat.

This petite Afro-wearing vocal powerhouse is definitely ready to bring the R&B attention back to the Bay like it was in the ‘90s when groups like En Vogue and the Tonies set the standard for what grown and sexy music is supposed to sound like, as well as creating the genre called Neo Soul. I’m definitely excited to see what the world has in store for Femi because she definitely has the talent to be at the top of the game like Keyshia Cole, another Oakland native, who has made it to international notoriety recently.

Check out this interview wit’ Femi as we talk about her musical history, her views on today’s R&B scene, as well as her views on the controversy surrounding Yoshi’s and the Berkeley Jazz Festival’s exclusion of Black musicians, right here in the Bay Area.

MOI JR: Where are you from? And how did you start singing?

Femi: I am from Oakland, but part of my time was spent growing up in New York – Spanish Harlem – as well. My first experience was in elementary school, at Brookfield Elementary. I was always in choir. One of my teachers, Ms. McKinley, did a play, a musical, and I was one of the lead roles. It was based on the soundtrack to “Roots” by Quincy Jones. It was my first experience dancing and singing in front of an audience. I’ve been doing it ever since; I was a natural entertainer.

MOI JR: Why do you sing with a live band as opposed to just having your music on DAT when you perform?

Femi: Being part Puerto Rican, there was always live music around my house. I am a product of an era of live music – Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Chaka Khan and Rufus. To me there is nothing more pure than a group of people being syncopated in time. You can’t beat “real-time,” raw, in the moment music.

MOI JR: Being a vocalist yourself, how do you look at other female singers like Alicia Keyes, India Arie, Beyonce, Mary J. Blige and Erykah Badu? Do you think soul music is getting better since the ‘70s or worse?

Femi: Those sisters represent some of the musical pioneers of our time. They are hard working women who are the living breathing example of strength and vulnerability. Being a woman in the music industry is tough, but these sisters have proven that they are not just another pretty face; they have longevity.

It is proof that you can be beautiful and talented at the same time. Soul music of the ‘70s spoke of that era. They where just coming out of a time of segregation, war and economic struggle of Brown and Black folks, so the music reflected that message.

I wouldn’t compare the ‘70s to now. We live in a different time, I mean we still have racism and wars, but we also have technology and the world became a smaller place, so that is progress. However, we have also regressed in a sense with the dumbing-down of lyrics and the open verbal abuse of women.

MOI JR: Recently there has been a lot of controversy with the Bay Area jazz community talkin’ about how Yoshi’s restaurant and some of the jazz festivals have been keeping Black musicians off their bills. What is your opinion on this issue?

Femi: From my prospective it seems that someone lost their damn mind. How can you speak of jazz and leave out Black folks? That is OUR music.

History continues to repeat itself: We share and they take, plain and simple. I’m curious to see what would happen if jazz musicians of color had a “Day of Absence.”

It’s almost like they are spitting on the graves of our ancestors by denying their children the right to their own music. It just goes to show you that the struggle continues, and that we as a people need to wake up and take our shit back.

MOI JR: What advice would you give to young people – but young women specifically – who want to get involved in singing and the music business?

Femi: My advice to young people – young women specifically – is to know your history first. Study the greats, not just their music but their struggle to do their music.

Secondly, learn the business: contracts, accounting, booking, marketing etc. Learn how it works so that when you hire someone, you know what they should and shouldn’t be doing on your behalf.

Thirdly, find a mentor. And finally, study your craft. And remember, no matter what it is, it will always be about the MUSIC FIRST!

MOI JR: How do people stay up on what you’re doing? Do you have a myspace, so that people could check out your music?

Femi: You can always catch me rocking at some venue in the Bay area. I get down with a lot of folks from hip-hop, reggae to electronica. Taste the Love. Feel the Fire. (Visit) www.femimusic.com - SF Bayview

"Femi Andrade: R&B performer takes the plunge"

Andy Gilbert
Thursday, November 6, 2008

The only real obstacle blocking sultry soul singer Femi Andrade from delivering her first album was herself.

"It was all in my head, whether I could do it, should do it, was good enough to do it, and after a while it was like, 'I am!' " says Femi, who performs under her first name. "I don't show it on the outside, but I've always been afraid. I came to my own self-realization that I could do it. It took me seven months to come up with everything. I sat with myself and hashed it out. It came from the most genuine, vulnerable place in myself."

When she takes the stage at Maxwell's Lounge in downtown Oakland on Friday, she'll be celebrating the release of "Sweet Water Soul" on Talking House Records. It may have taken her years to finally take the plunge, but Femi has used the time well, creating a highly personal statement marked by flowing, sensuous grooves and glistening, crystalline arrangements.

Working with producer PC Muñoz, Femi developed a program of six songs that flow together like an extended suite. Clocking in at 30 minutes, the project falls somewhere between an EP and an album. The CD's distilled concision makes "Sweet Water Soul" a highly satisfying draught for those who like their R&B served up righteously chilled. Femi plays the bulk of the instruments herself on the album, though at Maxwell's she'll be joined by a savvy soul-jazz combo featuring pianist Ajayi Jackson, guitarist Paul Hunt, bassist Stephen Smith, drummer Michael Williams, trumpeter Mark Wright, tenor saxophonist Dayna Stephens and backing vocalist Soultre James.

Femi's latest aural incarnation might surprise some of her longtime fans. A few years back, she fronted a neo-funk unit blending gospel with Parliament-type grooves. She's delved into jazz and salsa, house and hip-hop, reggae and soul, while also drawing inspiration from her family's Puerto Rican roots. She's worked as a dancer, performance artist, and hip-hop MC. As Femi sees it, "Sweet Water Soul" isn't a newfangled beverage, it's an outpouring from a spiritually grounded period in her life.

"Most people who know me from seeing me perform might think this stuff is really mellow," Femi says. "But I was in (a) very peaceful, grounded state. I love nature. I love building a fire and the sound of running water and putting my hands in the dirt. That's part of me in addition to the urban, edgy thing. This is my diary. I'm a Puerto Rican person, but I'm from East Oakland. I'm black and hip-hop. This music reflects the moment where I was at, and the next moment could be completely different."

Friday @ Maxwell's Lounge: veteran oakland vocalist Femi celebrates the release of her long-awaited first album, "Sweet Water Soul." 9 p.m., $12-$15, 21+. 341 13th St., Oakland. (510) 839-6169, www.maxwellslounge.com.

- Andrew Gilbert, 96Hours@sfchronicle.com

This article appeared on page G - 4 of the San Francisco Chronicle
- San Francisco Chronicle ~ 96 Hours

"Your Daily Lick: FEMI"

November 3, 2008

Oakland's FEMI flows like water on this easy-listening soul sampler. Syncopated drums and lightly popping bass lines lend her songs a funk flavor, but in the end - with the exception of Latin standout "If I Knew" - they're soul through and through. Her gentle voice doesn't lead like it could, blending into a romantic tapestry of flute, keys, guitar, and percussion. — Nate Seltenrich

- East Bay Express

"FEMI -"

Mark Edwards Nero
September 30, 2008

Oakland-based singer Femi shouldn't be confused with Afrobeat artist Femi Kuti or the singer Olu Femi, but she does does have a few things in common with the other two artists: a musical worldliness, a deep spirituality, a willingness to experiment with different sounds and the strength to march to the beat of a different drummer than everyone else. And on her debut EP, Sweet Water Soul, released in the U.S. on Sept. 23, 2008, Femi incorporates R&B, Soul, Jazz, Caribbean influences, and even some Hip-Hop into her lush, organic style of music. This coupled with her laid-back, relaxing vocals, are a nice combination.


* Lush melodies.
* Sweet harmonies.


* The instrumentation leans a little too much toward Jazz at times.


* Ambient.
* Jazz-influenced.
* Experimental fusion.

Guide Review - Femi - "Sweet Water Soul"

Listening to the first song on Sweet Water Soul, "Sweet Water," is like easing into a warm bath in a room filled with pleasant fragrances - its instant relaxation. From the soft percussion to the jazzy flute to Femi's soft, steady vocals, the song completely exudes good vibes. The good feelings continue on the EP's other five songs, with standout tracks being the reggae-influenced surrendering-to-love song "If I Knew," an upbeat track that boasts use of a horn section, ala old-school Earth, Wind & Fire; and "Pages," a hand percussion-driven song about, among other things, self-reflection, self-reliance and being emotionally free.

This is the type of album that you'd want to listen to after a hard day at work; it's got slow, steady beats throughout, plus smooth, relaxing vocals and pleasant, enjoyable subjects, mainly love. The album however, leans more toward smooth Jazz, and one song, "I Want You," is basically a standard Jazz number. So if you're an R&B purist or don't like mixing and matching music genres, this isn't the album for you. However, if you like a little musical experimentation and are looking for some new sexy, sophisticated grooves to add to your collection, Femi's Sweet Water Soul might be just what you need. - About.com: R&B by By Mark Edward Nero

"Soul Rising"

"Hope I'm not too late," Femi Andrade says, arriving at Oakland's Jahva House 10 minutes past the appointed interview time. "I had a gig last night," she explains. As it turns out, she helped her friend Luna Angel with backing vocals and wound up jamming onstage with headliner Ozomatli at the Fillmore.

Despite her claim of being tired, the African American and Puerto Rican singer (who gives her age as between 26 and 30) looks ravishing even at this early hour. She appears the epitome of urban chic in a 3/4-length fatigue-colored coat, cream-colored pants, an orange V-neck top, a multihued scarf and red Prada bag -- topped off by her reddish-brownish Afro. But she says she's not trying to make a fashion statement.

[MP3s: Femi: "Come Down"
Femi: "I Want You"
Jennifer Johns: "Do You Believe in Love"
Jennifer Johns: "Ghetto International" ]

"I'm going to work," she says. "I don't feel like a rock star."

Femi is just one of many up-and-coming female vocalists in the Bay Area's underground urban soul scene, which has taken a backseat to hyphy yet deserves attention. Her big opportunity may come Friday, when she opens for French singers Les Nubians, along with Jennifer Johns, another locally bred singer on the verge of an artistic breakthrough whose oversize personality matches her talent.

Voted one of "Oakland's Sexiest Musicians" by now-defunct alternative weekly Urbanview in 2002, Femi practically oozes sensuality.

"I'm so secure with who I am as a woman," she says, adding, "it doesn't hurt to be sensuous."

Her Afro-Caribbean roots instilled in her a belief in the elemental-affirming religion known as Santeria; spirituality, she says, has "always been an important part of my life. It gives me grounding."

A veteran of Oakland's cultural arts scene, Femi's been a dancer, hip-hop MC, spoken-word poet and performance artist, in addition to a singer. Her stylistic versatility extends to her music, a blend of soul, funk, jazz, salsa, house, hip-hop and reggae that she's dubbed "neo-funk." Femi describes the neo-funk sound as a mix of Parliament-esque big band and gospel music, with an emphasis on the low end: "It's all about the bass."

A few years ago, Femi probably would have been lumped in with the neo-soul movement then in vogue. But these days, she says, "people don't really talk about neo-soul anymore." Indeed, several so-called neo-soul artists, including Raphael Saadiq and D'Angelo, have publicly repudiated the term, which they felt was somewhat contrived. As for Femi, she says, "I'm still soulful, but the funk is definitely there."

After working with both local and national luminaries (A+ of Hieroglyphics/Souls of Mischief, Oakland rap group CoDeez and Chicago house producer Ron Trent), not to mention gigging like mad (she estimates she's done at least 60 shows since last year), she's assembled a nine-piece live band and is working on her highly anticipated debut album, "Taste the Love ... Feel the Fire," tentatively scheduled for next summer.

The reason the album's taken so long, she says, is because "I'm a perfectionist." In addition to voicing the album, she's also a songwriter and producer, and these things take time to put together, she explains.

"I'm not trying to rush being a creative person." Also, as an independent artist, she's working with a limited budget. "There's no manager. It's fueled by myself and by my drive."

Independence, it seems, can be both a blessing and a curse for Bay Area musicians. As Femi says, "It's a small place, but full of talent. We're all disconnected. There's no Motown to go to."

However, there is a burgeoning local soul scene, anchored by female vocalists, which has been bubbling up for several years, to the point where it's just starting to attract national attention. A few years ago, the notion of a successful indie soul or R&B album was practically laughable in a genre dominated by mainstream radio-ready singles and glossy, formulaic production values. Then came Ledisi and Goapele, whose independently released efforts sold enough and created enough of a buzz to get them signed to major label deals (Ledisi with Verve, Goapele with Columbia). They were followed by Keyshia Cole, who rose from a hardscrabble upbringing in East Oakland to platinum sales with her 2005 Interscope debut "The Way It Is" and recently scored a major international hit with dancehall don Sean Paul, "Give It Up to Me."

As Femi says, "their success is an open door." However, she adds, "Keyshia didn't just sit around East Oakland" waiting for the music industry to discover her. Likewise, Femi's been expanding her network, frequently traveling out of town for studio sessions and live gigs, building up her fan base outside of the Bay Area. "If L.A.'s calling, or New York or Philly, I gotta go," she says.
- San Francisco Chronicle 2006

"Critic's Choice"


Legend has it that Beyoncé's father used to make her run laps while singing to develop the coordination she'd use later in life — singing melismatic cadenzas while executing perfectly choreographed dance moves. And balletic poise is just a minimum requirement to compete in Oakland's R&B scene, where the most prominent female vocalists — Ledisi, Femi, Goapele, LaToya London, Jennifer Johns, and most recently, Jimmie Reign — are also competent bandleaders. Charming and diminutive offstage, slinky and flirtatious onstage
- East Bay Express 2007

"Grassroots Street Art"

IVth: How long have you been singing and how did you get started?
Femi: I’ve been singing all my life. My first performance was in elementary school in a rendition of “roots” by Alex Haley/ Music by Quincy Jones. My professional career didn’t begin until I was about 23, when I did my first open mic.

IVth: Where are you from and how has that affected your style of music?
Femi: I’m from Oakland Ca. Home of the FUNK…baby! Yes, I’m funky…and as history has shown us Prince, James Brown and Marvin got their touring musicans from Oakland. There must be something in the water.

IVth: What's the hardest part about Song Writing?
Femi: Being open enough to view the world and write something that everyone can relate to.

IVth: What inspires you to do music? & How do you want your music to inspire others?
Femi: Music itself. No matter how long you’ve been doing it, the mastery of music is a life-long journey. I want my music to inspire, uplift and give a voice to a community that otherwise might not have one.

IVth: If you could play a role in a movie of a famous singer, who would it be? or would you play yourself? Explain.
Femi: Minnie Riperton, Patrice Rushen, Sheila E or Teena Marie. WHY? They not only where dope musicians/producers but they came along during a time when it was male dominated. That’s something all women in the industry have to contend with.

IVth: What producers are you working with currently and how would you describe their sound?
Femi: I’ve been producing myself, however I’ve collaborated with A-plus (Hieroglyphics), TD camp (Co-Deez, Equito) and a few unknown but dope producers. I want to work with Amp Live but he won’t return my emails (hook me up).

IVth: What is your 5 year goal for your music?
Femi: Release 2 solo albums, tour and record with more artists. I’ve got some stuff being release in 2006. I Never turn down anything but my collar. So get with me, if you feel me.

IVth: I went to college in the bay, and I chose to go to L.A. in order to pursue my music dreams, so I have mixed feelings about music and the Bay Area. Do you think living in the Bay Area helps your career or hurts it or both? Explain.
Femi: Both, I could cultivate my craft but once I was ready to present my work, there weren’t a lot of venues that could support me and my peers. However, there has been an influx of live music venues in the Bay over the past 3 years…More artist from the Bay are pushing themselves out there to be reckoned with by the music industry. Its like a sleeping giant has awoken…and it is HUNGRY!

IVth: If you had a chance to collaborate with any artist (well-known or otherwise), who would you most like to record with?
Femi: Prince, Quincy Jones, Jimmy jam & Terry Lewis, Linda Perry and a laundry list of others.

IVth: I'm a young woman and I can sing pretty good and I'm looking to get in the music industry. What advice can you give me to get myself started?
Femi: Go out to any and every spot that has a mic. church, school, anywhere and just sing, sing sing If there isn’t a place, create it and invite folks to hear you. One important thing to do is to also, get a recording of your voice. Technology has made it so easy.

IVth: What can your fans expect in the very near future?
Femi: Albums, tours, TV, and movie’s. I’m a work-a-holic for mines.

IVth: What music artists are you listening to currently?
Femi: This is my short-list: Esthero, Raul Midon, Fertile Ground, Led Zepplin, Eric Roberson, All jazz and a lot of Deep-house Soul from over-seas.

IVth: Is music in general getting better or has it lost the quality and originality that it use to have?
Femi: The commercial stuff is like fast food, you eat but does it have nutritional value? The underground is hot (creativity hasn’t suffered or been smothered). Remember when hip-hop was a virgin…Pure and true. Our musical ancestors would be proud to see that we haven’t SOLD-Out just to be famous. I just want to take the time out to say thank you to the following artist for being staying true: Ledisi, Martin Luther, Goapele, Mystic, Esthero, Sade, Julie Dexter, Salakida, Raul Midon, Eric Roberson, Fertile Ground, Mint Condition, Co-Deez, Rico Pabon, Destiney Wolf, O-Maya, The Attik, The Attic Merchants…and all of you reading this that won’t sacrifice your craft for cash. PEACE.
- IV Elelment Online Magazine

"Neo Soultress FEMI talks with Rockwired...."



Oakland-based singer-songwriter FEMI has spent the past five years refining her sound before enthusiastic live audiences in the Bay Area. With all of the momentum that she has been building up slowly and surely, you'd think think that her debut E.P. 'SWEET WATER SOUL' (TALKING HOUSE RECORDS) would've been released years ago. This was not the case. With 'SWEET...', the honey-voiced songstress has finally committed her lovely compositions to an official release. Produced by P.C. MUNOZ, this debut E.P. is indeed a sweet escape, showcasing stand out tracks such as 'CRUSH', the contemplative 'PAGES', and the jazz funk fusion of 'I WANT YOU'. While the brevity of it may leave a listener wanting more, you can be assured that neo-soul has found another tremendous talent in the vein of INDIA.ARIE or DES'REE.

ROCKWIRED spoke with FEMI over the phone. Here is how it went.

SWEET WATER is a great CD.
Why thank you BRIAN! It is my first official release

Official? Were there other releases?
I've been working with people for years, I just never released anything. This is my first official release. It's just me. No MC's or other artists. It's just me doing my thing and taking the time to sit down and do my own thing as a writer and producer and composer. It took me seven months to write everything and put it all together and I'm really proud of it. It's like 'Okay! I can do this! I don't need to collaborate with that many people.I guess when you're young, you just want to be around other musicians and put it all together, but for this first release I just wanted to make sure that I encompassed everything that was truly me as a musician and a person.

Why an E.P.?
Because of the situation with TALKING HOUSE RECORDS. When I signed with them a year ago, I had the opportunity to do a full album because I had been performing in the Bay Area for so many years,but something happened where the album was going to be delayed for a year. Another year of waiting would've been too long for my fans - the people that have been supporting me over the years. I wanted to be sure that I gave them something because they are the reason why I'm a musician and why I perform. It was really for them. I didn't want to wait any longer so I opted to do a shorter record. Now I can take the time to do a full length record the way that I really want to do it. The E.P. was a lot easier because it was me. I did a lot of the pre-production myself and then I got some musicians to help hash it out. The whole process took me about several months.

Talk a little about the music scene that you are surrounded by.
The music scene in the Bay Area is very diverse. We have a lot of jazz musicians, a lot of indie rock musicians and a lot of soul and a mixture of hip hop and avant-garde. The community is kind of small but it's big. It's kind of weird because there is no industry here so the people who are doing the music are industry. So if I'm doing something, people know about it and other musicians know about it, so it's a real musical community as opposed to just being a bunch of fans. All of my friends and everyone I know are musicians or some form of artist. It's kind of crazy! I would like for there to be more of an industry here but L.A. is right down the street.

Oh it's only a few hours away.
Yeah, it's a six hour drive. If you drive like crazy, you can make it in four. I'm sure a lot of people think that if the industry is down there, why bring it up here, but the thing about it is that there is so much undiscovered talent like myself and I'm building my name. Many of my contemporaries travel down to L.A. to do shows there and that's kind of the natural progression here. You put out an album, you rally up your fan base and from there you branch out and settle into L.A. I've performed in L.A. but at the time I didn't have a record so it was like 'Oh, you're just an artist. What are you doing here? What is your style? What do you do?'

What has been the biggest surprise in making this album for you?
The biggest surprise has been the overwhelming response from people that I don't know. It's all over the internet. You can download the CD from various sites like RHAPSODY and I-TUNES and the response from people all over the world is surprising. I've gotten a lot of responses from Germany, Spain, The U.K., Maryland, New York, and Florida. I feel like I'm on the right track here and I'm not just a local artist. When you're able to reach out to other people and they can hear your music and they don't know anything about you other, I think that's kind of amazing and it's inspiring and now I'm excited to do the next record.

Are you from the Bay Area originally?
Yes. I'm from Oakland California.

How did music begin for you?
It began for me when I was in elementary school. It was the first time I was ever on stage and around the arts. My mom was a dancer and she went to Julliard and my Dad was a musician. Actually he was more of a singer and musical appreciator, being that my Dad is Puerto Rican, so there was always music around my life. In elementary school, I was involved in a lot of school productions and I really enjoyed it. I must have been really good at it because Ive been doing it ever since. I've always been in some kind of dance class, some kind acting class, or band or choir. I've always had my hand in the performing arts from an early age. Even when I was a little kid, my Dad said that I would take a broomstick and put a cup on it and sing - like it was a microphone. I was always putting on my own concerts in my room and I would turn on the radio. Depending on the song, I would be a dancer, a background singer, or the lead singer and those were my formative years.

What artists spoke to you?
First and foremost was MINNIE RIPPERTON. She was one of my idols as a kid. She was just amazing and the music that her and her husband RICHARD RUDOLPH made was so universal, and because of my hippie-ness and living in California, their sound made so much sense to me. The music was so funky and the lyrical delivery really spoke to me as a kid. Then there were the usual suspects, STEVIE WONDER and MARVIN GAYE, but then there would be other stuff as I got older that made an impression on me like PARLIAMENT and BETTY DAVIS. I'm really into funk music. For my next project, I'm leaning more towards blending this neo-soul sound with the funk. Right now, I'm trying to conjure up this little hybrid sound for my next release.

When did you get the inclination to want to make your own music?
I always had a piano and I always wrote poetry as a kid but I never shared it with anyone because I didn't think I sounded like WHITNEY HOUSTON, so I figured that if I didn't sound like that, then I wasn't going to be a recording artist. It was something that I did for my own personal pleasure and on my own time. My Dad didn't let me play outside that often because we lived in kind of a rough neighborhood, but I remember the first time that I remember taking a song I wrote and performing it in front of people. I was in my early twenties. I was scared to death. It was an open mic and my friends were like 'you should do it!' so I got up there and was like 'Hi, I wrote this song. It goes like this...' Once I loosened up and started getting into it, everyone else started getting into it and then they invited me back and I became a regular. It kind of spiraled from there.

How do you go about writing songs, if it can be explained?
There are several different ways. Usually I start with the music. I start with a rhythm track - drums and bass - and then from there if I hear the words , then an idea will pop into my head and then I start writing the lyrics down. If it happens too fast then I have to record myself and kind of mumble words and take the melody down. Either I'll hear lyrics and then create music or I'll start with the music and then hear the lyrics.

For this album, who did you work with in terms of production?
A wonderful person by the name of P.C. MUNOZ. He saw me and my band at a show. Ironically, the show was called SWEET WATER SOUL. When we had finished performing, PC came up to me and introduced himself and said he really liked what I was doing. He said he couldn't wait for my record to come out and I started laughing and said 'Yeah, me too!' I wasn't working on a record. I had songs written and I had this catalog of stuff that I had written over the years but I didn't have anything officially recorded. He told me 'you should have a record!' and I told him that I couldn't afford it and that I was working two jobs. Studio time is expensive and I hadn't met anyone that could help me. Then PC said to me 'I think I might have something for you.' A week later, we met up with each other and he talked to me about working with TALKING HOUSE RECORDS which is where he works as a producer and as an artist. He asked me to come to the studio and work on this song for another project, which was remake of 'I BELIEVE' by THE PIXIES. He brought me in and showed me around the facility. I got into the studio and finished the session in fifty minutes from beginning to end. PC was like 'God! You're fast!' I'm always prepared before I go into the studio so that when I get in there, I'm knocking it out. Not long after that recording session I was offered a record deal with TALKING HOUSE. The opportunity was there and I took it.

What songs from this E.P. stick out for you and why?
The first one would be 'CRUSH' because I wrote that song three years ago. I had this thing for this guy and I really couldn't tell him. I wasat my house one day and it was raining like crazy. I was thinking about him and I started writing this song and started making the music for it. It was like a cool way for me to share with this person how I felt without seeming uncool. I remember e-mailing him after I had put he song on my MYSPACE page and told him that he was the inspiration for it. He was dumbfounded. I don't think anyone had ever done that for him before. The song pretty much said everything. The next song that absolutely love would have to be 'PAGES' because it is so personal to me. It is the first time that I ever played guitar ona record. the song is about writing to be free and not feeling alone because I have a pen and a pad and my guitar. That song is is super personal for me. 'I WANT YOU' is another favorite. I always wanted to be a jazz singer and this was my attempt at making a straight ahead jazz tune but it ended up sounding really funky in the end. I write that song mre than five seven years ago and here is how it manifested.

What are your plans for the next album?
I would like to continue taking some of the elements of SWEET WATER SOUL and incorporating it with what my stage show is because the stage show is edgier and grittier. I want to combine the two in record form. In making SWEET WATER SOUL, I was so introspective that it became a mellow project according to my fanbase. People who see me live know that I rock out and I've got energy, but when they heard the CD they were like 'This is different!' It shocked them a little bit. So the next time around I'm making an effort to combine the introspection with the edginess.

What would you like someone to come away with after they've heard SWEET WATER SOUL?
I want them to come away feeling at ease and peaceful after listening to the record. I want them to feel as if they were on a mellow, soothing, soulful journey. The concept of water is very strong throughout the record. I wanted the album to be fluid like water because that was what I was feeling at the time that I was making the album. Sometimes when I hear a river or waterfall, it just makes me relax. I sound like such a hippy and I'm not, but I am. So if someone can come away feeling calm, I think that would be great.

- Brian Lush of Rockwired

"FEMI is Flowing"

FEMI is Flowing

It has been a while since I immediately engaged with an artist in the way I did with the sounds of FEMI. It was only after listening to the entire EP, “Sweet Water Soul�, that I learned that she wrote, composed, and arranged all of the material on the release. That made sense to me because it helped to explain the contiguous flow, the comprehensive interlacing of every note, every instrument, and every rift, to the point of memorable mastery of this special piece of art.


FEMI does put you in mind of those she is compared to; Badu, Arie, Sade, and Jill Scott. She has that fluidity, but she also has that which will separate her into her own unique space. She is FEMI, and her music is FEMI’s.

I found myself thinking about the soundtrack from “Waiting to Exhale� as I listed to “Sweet Water Soul�. It was that type of listening experience, where, one track to the next, your enjoyment builds. The tracks are ‘Imported’, ‘Crush’, ‘If I Knew’, ‘I Want You’, and ‘Pages’. Instrumentally, the repeated flute solos are wonderful, and the expert interjection of the Afro/Caribbean/Latin influence is really nice.

Insight into the EP provided by FEMI tells us that the consistent theme is Water. She explains in her press information that ‘Sweet Water (Rezo)’ is a payer/meditation, ‘Imported’ is about being in a love that surpasses time and space, ‘Crush’ was inspired by the newness of Love, ‘If I Knew’ is about getting the love you prayed for, ‘I Want You’ is like a love letter her lover, and ‘Pages’ is a poem she wrote to herself about self-reflection and self-appreciation.

FEMI, we are told, comes from the Oakland music underground scene where she has something of a celebrity reputation already. Words associated with her presence there include “visionary� and “neo-SOUL soulstress�.

There is total romance to this soundtrack. There is an aura too of a certain type of reverence. I highly recommend it.

Personnel on the production of this noteworthy work are: FEMI and pc Munoz, producers, Willie Samuels, Peter Krawiec and Justin Lieberman, engineers, Justin Liberman again as mixer, and it was mastered by Willie Samuels. The label for “Sweet Water Soul� is Talking House.
- Peggy Eldrigde-Love, BellaOnline's Emerging Music Editor


Sweet Water Soul - EP
Crush - single
If I Knew - single
I Want you - single
Pages - single




Bay Area native of Puerto-Rican ancestry, FEMI has established her musical presence with powerfully sweet vocals, passionately poetic song writing and sultry production. Her music has been defined as neo-funk & soul but its roots go much deeper with an infusion of afro-latin/carribean rhythms, jazz, hip-hop, salsa and rock, blending perfectly to create a unique sound all her own. As one of the pioneers of the Oakland underground music scene, FEMI began laying the groundwork as an emerging artist, captivating the heart, soul and ears of those in underground oakland art community, unaware that she was painting vivid collages of sound and texture that were considered "experimental" for the time. FEMI has since taken her sound and toured throughout the US in venues from Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia and her hometown of the Bay Area. Her most recent accomplishments have been working with and/or opening for international recording artists like the Black Eye Peas, Ledisi, Mystic & Les Nubians.

FEMI is ready to hit the road in 2008 and share her depth as a performer, musician, singer, songwriter and producer with the world. She is beauty, strength, vulnerability blossoming right before your eyes. A radiating, fiery talent that should not be contained by categories or definitions, she has enough energy to power a 747 aircraft, and it is this fuel that burns bright through her music. "Oakland's visionary funk prophet FEMI is currently holed up in the studio with producer pc muñoz, sculpting her compositions into a unique new collection. "Sweet Water Soul" in stores September 23, 2008." ~ Talking House Records.