kelefleming

kelefleming

 Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN
SoloPopSinger/Songwriter

Possessed of a powerful soprano that, in its lower registers, evokes Grace Slick or Debbie Harry, she can sweep from an angry growl to an ethereal high to a plaintive almost-whisper in seconds. Her melodies take unexpected twists& turns, her creative phrasing fits the lyrics seamlessly inside them.

Biography

The Province once wrote of Kele Fleming that she “might have the most original songwriting style in Vancouver.”

Kele Fleming began writing her latest album, "World in Reverse", with the goal of creating a sonic novel. By the time she was done, she had created a sonic Ulysses, a series of vignettes that coalesce into a subtle social commentary.

Some songs are about lives ending just as they should be blossoming. Some are about the earth itself decaying through environmental damage. Others are about love affairs or life plans taking 180 degree turns. What makes the work stand out from other songs on similar topics is Fleming’s singular voice as a songwriter.

So talented is she that World’s lyric sheet alone reads like a work of starkly hard-hitting poetry. There’s no mistaking that “Crowsnest” and “Inescapable Jesus” are about murdered women – although the word is never uttered - or that “The Ladder” and “World in Reverse” are about environmental destruction.

For all the force of the songwriting, though, World is anything but whiney. The lyrics come to life through Fleming’s quirky musical sensibilities and range as a vocalist. Possessed of a powerful alto that at times recalls that of Grace Slick or Debbie Harry, Fleming can sweep from an angry growl to an ethereal high to a plaintive almost-whisper in seconds. Her melodies take unexpected twists and turns, and her creative phrasing fits the lyrics seamlessly inside them. And Gen Xers will appreciate the nods to 80s and 90s alternative pop in the production values. In fact, the occasional juxtaposition of serious subject matter against 80s-like elements is one of the album’s many peculiarly alluring qualities.

The arrangements also provide the side-stories to Fleming’s melodic main narratives. On “Crowsnest,” the rhythm guitar evokes the feeling of being on the open road. On “Hopeslide,” the cello helps one feel the character’s heartbreak. On “World in Reverse” the piano is the antidote to the melancholic message, the signal that there is still hope.

It all adds up to one of the most original recordings likely to be released this year.

Kele Fleming grew up in Vancouver, Nova Scotia, and Trenton, Ontario and began writing poetry as a child. She also sang and played guitar and French horn, but her interest in songwriting grew out of her love of literature.

She founded Hazel Motes while an English Lit student at the University of British Columbia and named it for the main character in Flannery O’Connor’s novel, Wise Blood. At its most active, in the early and mid 90s, the band toured Canada three times; played Bumbershoot, NXNE and Canadian Music Week; charted at college radio across Canada and the U.S.; and recorded a Nightlines session with CBC Radio’s David Wisdom. Along with acts like the Grapes of Wrath and Lava Hay, the ethereal roots-pop outfit was sometimes described as typifying the “Vancouver sound.”

In 1998, Fleming decided she was through with the life of a starving artist and returned to school to study web technology. She now divides her time between her art and her day job in educational technology – a job she says influences her music by empowering her to experiment with digital production techniques. Fortunately, Fleming’s tech job comes with some flexibility, meaning fans will get to check out the new project when she takes it on the road over the next six months (keep on an eye out for updates). In the constant sea of promising new voices hitting the stage, Fleming makes one appreciate the sophistication of a veteran performer.

Lyrics

crowsnest

Written By: kele fleming

della lost herself on the crowsnest
a road escape from her living hell
on the #3 towards hope
it was the blur of the trees that she loved the most
lust was her greatest disappointment
she never thought she'd lose her way

she's got her hands on the wheel
driving fortune home
she's free now

to the west he'll push on alone
on the #3 night road back to town
he'll wonder if she's there to haunt him
forever the silent witness in the trees
she got what she had coming
no one will ever notice she's gone
you're wrong!

she's got her hands on the wheel
driving fortune home
she's free now

and if they find what remains
time will reveal everything
years later when he's arraigned
they will remember her name
della fortune was her name

she's free now just like all the rest
the lonely women of the
angry women of the
ghostly women of the crowsnest

inescapable jesus

Written By: kele fleming

the moments inbetween
she feels a gentle unraveling
a-tickling at the edge of her heart
pulling her back in time

a-beating, a-beating
she's calling come walk with me
i wanna take you home
and keep you warm
a collection of bones

way down hastings street
where no one wants to go
the cherry blossoms lift & blow
the hunter's there, hes everywhere
like an inescapable jesus

he's calling, he's calling
come walk with me and talk with me
i wanna take you home and keep you warm
a collection of bones

he's always there - he's everywhere
the women walk and no one ever talks
the hunter's there, he's everywhere
like an inescapable jesus

he's calling, he's calling
come walk with me and talk with me
i'm gonna take you home and keep you warm
a collection of bones

Discography

2010 - World in Reverse
2004 - Songs from the Tinforest
2000 - Sturgeon Love EP (with Hazel Motes)
1995 - 20th Century Monologue (with Hazel Motes)
1994 - Stand (with Hazel Motes, CBC Radio Nightlines Session)
1993 - Ragnarok EP (with Hazel Motes)
1992 - Eponymous EP (with Hazel Motes)

Set List

2 x 45-50 minute sets