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Boston, Massachusetts, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2006 | INDIE

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2006
Band R&B Soul




"Sultry Siren Delivers!"

Today’s 4:00 show on the Miller Stage at the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival was one I hope you didn’t miss. Lilla, whom you may know as Lilla D’Mone, is back in the Northwest and what a treat it was to have her at this year’s Blues Fest. This accomplished young woman is celebrating her recent graduation from the Berklee College of Music as well as the release of her second self-produced album, The Awakening. This new album is a testament to the power of music and its ability to bring together musicians, culture, and people, from around the world. It was recorded all over the map, from Bob Marley’s studio in Kingston, JA “Tuff Gong,” to Portland, OR. If you missed today’s performance, or her recent album release show in Portland, here’s the LIVE recording,
Photo by Frank Lavelle
Photo by Frank Lavelle
Lilla taught herself to play the piano by ear at the age of 6 and has never looked back. She has shared the stage with many acclaimed artists including but not limited to: Annie Lennox, Willie Nelson, Mos Def, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Esperanza Spalding, Carole King, Stephen Marley, Ciara, Kenny G, Boyz II Men, Pussycat Dolls, Wu-Tang, Trombone Shorty, Kermit Ruffins, album featured artist Talib Kweli, and many more. Portland is lucky to have this lovely young lady share her sultry, sensuous talents this weekend, and brings a hand-picked band of many local favorites including Max Ribner on flugelhorn; Joe Hall, guitar; Matthew Flowers, vocals; Sean Vinson, Bass; Ramsey Embick, keys; Devin Phillips, sax; Rich Lawrence, drums; and a special guest appearance by college friend, Samuel Eisen-Meyers on guitar.
Having first heard Lilla a couple of years ago when she lived here in Portland and played with several local bands including the Max Ribner Band, and Medicine for the People, I was really looking forward to hearing what she’s done while she’s been away. Let me just say, I was not disappointed! She brings a comfortable, welcoming stage presence, and effortlessly draws the crowd in. While her set list might have leaned more to the r&b side, I didn’t see anyone in the audience complaining. She played original tunes, as well as a few covers by Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, and Billie Holiday.
Devin Phillips with Lilla / Photo by Frank Lavelle
Devin Phillips with Lilla / Photo by Frank Lavelle
Fitting for the title of her new album, the song, ‘Wake Up’ was written because we all need an awakening of some sort. There’s “so much distraction”, “someone open the blinds, let the light shine down”, we may dream of pearls and diamonds but “you know we need to wake up!” She engaged the audience, the boats, and the food vendors in a sing a long to the words, ‘wake up’ . You can view the official video for the song here, .
Devin and Max’s horns were the perfect intro to the jazzy, New Orleans sound of the song, ‘New Horizons’ based on a trip to that fine city. Matthew’s vocals, Devin’s sax, and Samuel’s guitar on ‘I Changed My Mind’ were terrific. “I changed my mind, forget about you, I gotta do me, it’s my turn this time to be the unpredictable one”. Max’s horn intro to Billie Holiday’s, ‘You Let Me Down’ was oh so smooth. Lilla and Matthew got their sensual on to Aretha Franklin’s, ‘Rock Steady’, “It’s a funky and low down feelin (What it is), in my hips from left and right, (What it is) What it is, is I might be doin’ this funky dance all night”. She got the audience all funky in their hips as well in what was the perfect ending of her set. There are two more Portland dates on her tour, July 22, from 12-1 p.m. in Pioneer Square, and on August 2nd, 2:30-4 p.m. at the Soulful Giving Blanket Concert.
Whatever the festival brings to your music ears it’s bound to be good, but this one was one of the greats! - Oregon Music News

"Lilla Fuses Styles to Deliver Something Fresh"

Byline: Serena Markstrom The Register-Guard

For an article about her debut album, "Music Trance," Lilla D'Mone told The Oregonian she thought she was a jazz singer in another life.

Pop Notes

But rather than go back in time, she's trying to bring her current musical vision - which includes hip-hop, R&B and soul - to an audience of her own in this lifetime.

D'Mone is still discovering who that audience is. But if she succeeds, it likely will overlap with fans of her heroes D'Angelo and Nina Simone, from whom she derived her stage name.

The Portland songstress and writer may be the perfect artist for the new incarnation of Jo Federigo's - long a traditional jazz club - because she fuses a respect for the roots of American music with a fresh attitude and a desire to experiment. She produced "Music Trance" herself, with a notable collaboration with Talib Kweli.

D'Mone came up through Grant High School's choir program in Portland. Her eyes were opened to a possible recording career after touring and performing at impressive East Coast venues with the school's jazz band.

Since then, D'Mone has shared stages with Mos Def, Ziggy Marley and Ciara. … - The Register Guard

"Lilla D'Mone and the Brazilian Lions If you think her name sounds sultry, wait until you hear her voice"

Lilla D'Mone and the members of her band, the Brazilian Lions, met a little more than seven months ago at a Latin dance club in Southeast Portland called Andrea's Cha Cha Club.

"I sat in to sing with them and we discovered a spontaneous chemistry," D'Mone says. "We began jamming around Portland together. The biggest obstacle was that the guys are based in Eugene."
if you go

Born and raised in Portland, D'Mone (whose first name is pronounced "Lila") has been a singer all of her life. She taught herself to play piano at age 6, and by age 12 was a member of a gospel choir. She became serious about singing professionally about seven years ago and has been performing with various lineups of musicians for three years.

D'Mone also learned about promotion and marketing, forming her own Karisma Music/Production company.

"After some things I've been through with other musicians, I discovered that the drive to Eugene wasn't that bad," D'Mone says.

The Brazilian Lions are Maurico Nassar on drums ("everything from percussion to congas" D'Mone says), along with his brother Marcello Nassar on bass and Fernando Bispo on keys. D'Mone also plays guitar and piano.

"Singing is my main thing, though," she says.

D'Mone's vocals are at the forefront of her self-produced 2008 album, "Music Trance."

"It's original soul music with a Brazilian flavor," D'Mone says. "And it's got some funk and hip hop."

The album features D'Mone's successful single, "Forever and a Day," and "Music Feat," a song with New York emcee and alternative hip hop rapper Talib Kweli.

The Oregonian called the album "a languid, sultry and vibrant new soul mix that is instantly accessible, yet shows a remarkable depth and musical maturity."

Since the album's release, D'Mone and her Brazilian Lions have performed at top concert halls, clubs and festivals around the country.

They opened for Juan de Marcos and the Afro-Cuban All-Stars at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland. Other Rose City shows were at Jimmy Maks in the Pearl District, the Roseland Theater and the Waterfront Blues Festival. Shows in Eugene include opening for Michael Franti and Spearhead at the Cuthbert Amphitheater and Anthony B at the WOW Hall.

D'Mone and her Lions also played at the 2008 Power to the Peaceful Festival in San Francisco, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 2007 and others.

Their live performances have taken D'Mone and the Lions to Jamaica, China and other spots on the globe.

"We did a show at The Mint in Los Angeles on Monday," D'Mone says. "And I sang the national anthem at a Lakers' game on Tuesday. My Brazilian guys were thrilled to see the game, unfortunately they lost to the 76ers."

D'Mone and the Lions are working on their second album. They recorded material while in Jamaica and China and were busy recording in L.A. the middle of this week.

"I've learned a lot since the first album," D'Mone says. "It was about the power of music. The new one will hold concepts that go toward the unity of our cultures, taking care of our planet. And it will be more jazz and gospel influenced."

By Laurie Heuston - Mail Tribune


Lilla D Mone - Music Trance
written by Josh Potter

So I'd never heard of Lilla D'Mone either. But that made stumbling upon the 21-year-old's debut album "Music Trance" all the more startling. At first the glossy, Shakira meets J-Lo good looks of the cover were deceiving. Another label-made flash-in-the- pan, I thought. An American Idol cover-girl with a market-tested studio machine behind her. Ten years from now I'll be flipping through used CD's at a yard sale, find "Music Trance" and wonder out loud to my buddy whatever happened to Lilla D'Mone. But then I actually played the disc.
This girl's from Portland, OR -- home of...exactly no one. From a clean slate Lilla D'Mone has built a lush R&B, neo-soul album quite literally with her own two hands. In addition to writing and singing, she plays keys, guitars and contributes to production. The result is a diverse yet cohesive sound nodding simultaneously to Philadelphia, LA and New York. On tracks like "Forever and a Day," the spare yet sultry backing track is a perfect host to D'Mone's confessional, Badu-esque, schoolyard sass. Meanwhile "Sitchiations" and "Dirty Money" bear the mark of Jill Scott's Philly funk.

The production is spot-on with dramatic, sweeping strings and tasty horn stabs. While clean and headphone-tested, the album has a warm, organic flavor dating back to pre-digital times. Even the sorely overused chimes are forgivable when bolstered by a live drum kit. She must be doing something right for Talib Kweli to take interest. He lends a touch of lyricism to the upbeat "Music Feat." But unlike with most celebrity cameos, D'Mone doesn't let him steal the show. "Music Trance" is the Lilla D'Mone show. It's only a matter of time before she's granting similar favors.

© 2006 MVREMIX MEDIA - MVREMIX Urban Magazine



• coming up - Lilla D'Mone CD release
Friday, September 08, 2006

D'MONE'S DEBUT A SULTRY 'TRANCE' -- It wasn't that long ago that Lilla D'Mone, nom de plume of Portlander Lillian Marie Naiman, was standing on a riser at Grant High School performing with the acclaimed Royal Blues choral group.
Oh what a scant three years and some determination, focus and fresh input can do.
D'Mone (the name is a mash-up of two big musical influences in her life, D'Angelo and Nina Simone) recently released "Music Trance," on her Karisma Music/Production label. It's an impressive debut CD from a 21-year-old schooled in the formal disciplines of classical and opera, filtered through hip-hop and rap, and fed with her own jazz, Motown and pop influences.
Equally impressive is her command of the music. She wrote or co-wrote all the material, produced, sang and played keyboards. The result is a languid, sultry and sensual neo-soul and R&B mix that is instantly accessible (read: ready for radio), yet shows a remarkable depth and musical maturity for a young talent.
D'Mone has taken her influences and is pushing the art form to new places. It bodes well for her success.
"I'm not trying to be big-headed," she says, "but it's good music. People should hear it. I want to open people's ears up to hearing other kinds of music."
Having grown up in church and high school choirs, and listening to her parents' music, which included liberal doses of Jimi Hendrix, Billie Holiday, Simone and Sade, D'Mone began a synthesis of sorts. A self-taught pianist, she worked her way into Grant High's stellar choir by her senior year and toured the East Coast with the group. It lit a fire and set her off on a singing career.
"At 17, I wanted to sing, but I was doing hip-hop and open mikes. I wasn't absolutely sure about what I wanted to do. I wasn't really serious. But after the tour, and singing in all these gorgeous places, I decided nothing else affects me this way. I decided to record an album."
Laying down tracks at home, D'Mone started taking them to the studio and bringing in musicians to augment the ideas that were percolating. During this period she moved to Los Angeles to attend Long Beach State to study jazz, but school was not a perfect fit, and she found herself working more on the project here in Portland.
"I get more inspired here," she says. "L.A. does this thing that sort of creates writer's block in me. A lot of musicians here have shown me a lot of love. It's way the opposite of L.A."
The CD's 13 tracks mix classic soul, modern beats, strong lyric content and sinewy performances. D'Mone spent the past three years finessing the project, often mixing and remixing tunes multiple times in different studios.
"I was going to put it out a year ago," she says. "But it just wasn't ready. The sound quality wasn't there, the mixes weren't good enough. When I write a song, I have a vision. That's why I didn't have a producer. I'm not as musically experienced as someone who's produced for years, but they can't see the vision as much as I can."
She did collaborate with people who she felt understand that vision (Syko, MyG, Talib Kweli), but D'Mone was very much the auteur. "I went through so many musical experiences," she says. "I'm not an engineer, man. But you gotta learn. You have to know programs and what kind of files to bring in to be mixed. So I figured I might as well. But I won't have to go through that again."
Coming up in Portland's vibrant hip-hop scene as one of the early female MCs, and now with an album under her belt, D'Mone is bound for bigger things. And she has the jazz bug bad, spending most of her time honing that side of her talent.
"If I don't make it doing my own stuff, I'd be happy doing jazz. It just feels right. I think I was a jazz singer in another life. Hip-hop was holding me back. You can only target so many people with that. Now I can relate to any age group."
Don Campbell is a Portland freelance writer. - The Oregonain


"Forever and a Day" ( Single currently receiving National air play.)



It’s been an exciting time for Lilla. One week after graduating from Berklee College of Music, she released her second self-produced album, The Awakening.  Over the summer she toured throughout the US, appeared on festival main stages on both coasts, and this fall she was the opener for Mos Def on his tour.


Lilla has played from Kingston, Jamaica to Beijing, China, working with an impressive array of artists, including Ciara, Damian & Stephen Marley, Talib Kweli, Trombone Shorty, Esperanza Spalding, the Wu-Tang Clan, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Annie Lennox, Willie Nelson, Carole King, Kenny G and Boyz II Men. Backed by her hard-hitting band and armed with a collection of soulful original tunes, few modern performers bring the class, message and talent that Lilla brings to the stage.


“A languid, sultry, neo-soul and R&B mix that is instantly accessible yet shows a remarkable depth and musical maturity.”

- The Oregonian


At the age of 6 she taught herself to play the piano by ear and, by age 12, began singing in her local gospel choir.  In high school other opportunities presented themselves--in addition to gospel choir, she sang and toured the East Coast with the internationally recognized Royal Blues, at the same time providing stage and studio vocals for several acts.  It was during this time that she found a niche in the West Coast scene.  After performing guest vocals for a number of published releases, and studio work with national hip-hop, R&B and jazz notables, she felt she had enough experience to strike out on her own.


Writing, producing and performing her two full-length albums are some of Lilla’s greatest accomplishments to date.  Despite the challenges of creating truly original music, the end products are those of uncompromising dedication to music with integrity. 

Her recent album was recorded all over the map, from Bob Marley’s studio Tuff Gong in Jamaica, to Lilla’s hometown of Portland, Oregon. The Awakening is a celebration of the power of music and its ability to connect musicians, cultures and people from around the globe.

Band Members