Liquid Blue
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Liquid Blue

San Diego, California, United States | SELF | AFM

San Diego, California, United States | SELF | AFM
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"Supernova: Exotic & Exhilarating"

Few groups operating on the international stage at the turn of the new millennium typify this age of assimilation better than the US band Liquid Blue, an act that not only strives to explore the possibilities of musical inter-marriage but also takes that cosmopolitan blend across oceans and plains, over mountains and deserts, in fact to most corners of the global village.

Liquid Blue's live odyssey has taken the San Diego-based group to six continents and 60 countries since the seven-piece announced an artistic intention to escape the somewhat restrictive straitjacket of rock'n'roll and soul, pop ballads and rhythm and blues, and add the flavors of many of the places they now regard as part of an annual itinerary.

Not that the styles that have made American popular music a dominating force for decades have been jettisoned. Instead, they have been enlivened, enriched and ornamented by Asian additions, Latin decorations and modes from Arabic lands. The results, framed on the band¹s debut album Supernova, are usually exotic and frequently exhilarating.

The title track, with principal singer Nikki Nova to the fore, provides a potent example of the group¹s versatility, displaying vocal and instrumental prowess in a dizzying array of styles ­ rock rhythms touched by sub-Latin beats, and hints of the Middle East are entwined in a cocktail that is both surprising and exuberant.

It is refreshing, too, that music as determinedly upbeat and good-time as Liquid Blue¹s material most certainly is, does not rely merely on the banalities of lyrical cliché. The group's words reveal an awareness of broader issues and a political consciousness, expressing anti-war concerns and pro-green messages that transcend the usual fare of dance-oriented pop.

Not that the band is weighed down by the burden of soapbox manifestos. Arms of Love, with Layla Loxa on lead vocals, is simply a powerful romantic anthem but with a twist, again incorporating a wealth of references ­ a touch of Bollywood, a hint of bhangra, a shot of sitar, potent with Eastern promise.

The political re-surfaces on Kashmir, however, with Scott Stephens in the vocal spotlight, as the natural wonders of a troubled land, caught in the territorial crossfire of India and Pakistan, are celebrated in a splendid concoction with touches of tabla and scratching and even Celtic hints in the mix, but Rhythm of Love returns us to that rich hybrid of Middle Eastern trills and pulsating beats, an ideal addition to the soundtrack of club international.

Liquid Blue's debut CD has been overseen under the watchful eye of Grammy-winning producer Joe Chiccarelli, whose credits range from Zappa to Baez, Annie Lennox to the Kronos Quartet, Tori Amos to Enrique Iglesias, a suitable resume, I'd argue, to take on the harlequin shades, the carnivalesque vigor of this group¹s eclectic repertoire.

There has been much talk of World Music in the last 20 years, even some passing references to the idea of World Jazz, suggesting that musical form can transcend the barriers of West and East, the globe¹s developed and developing territories. But the cynics have been quick to characterize such concepts as the constructs of the record corporations' marketing departments.

World Pop has hardly been uttered in the same breath but if there is a group personifying such a universal spirit and not merely with an eye to the commercial main chance, Liquid Blue gets pretty close to the blueprint. Here¹s a band which represents a new wave of performers and composers unbounded by the old restrictions of state, culture and language.

Variety, they say, is the spice of life: Liquid Blue with an expansionist eye and an open door to the musical menu of the planet, has taken the old saying well and truly to heart. Check it out.

Simon Warner-

Simon Warner is a lecturer, writer and broadcaster on popular music. He teaches at the University of Leeds in the UK, pens the "Anglo Visions" column for the webzine Pop Matters and is founding editor of the electronic publication Chapter & Verse: A Journal of Popular Music and Literature Studies. He published Rockspeak: The Language of Rock and Pop in 1996 and he contributes a chapter to the forthcoming collection Remembering Woodstock due to appear in 2004. Currently he is working on the title Text and Drugs and Rock'n"Roll, a book concerned with the links between the Beat writers and rock culture, and a BBC radio documentary reflecting on the 10th anniversary of Kurt Cobain's death. - Pop Matters


"Take a Trip to the East via the West"

Supernova" is the culmination of almost eight years of touring and road work by a band that remains a spectacle to witness live but has always possessed a grand vision to give the public its version of a musical art form known as the album.

Liquid Blue's leader, founder and main songwriter, Scott Stephens, envisioned an original blend of Western pop rock with the traditional sounds of East Indian music when he formed the band.

That musical concept, along with a lyrical commitment to world peace, the environment and spirituality, is what drives the lush, sonic soundscapes of "Supernova."

It's a sound that can only be described as modern world pop.

While the music of Liquid Blue will remind the listener of everything from Sgt. Pepper-era Beatles and the solo work of George Harrison to the most modern dance music, Stephens calls the mission of Liquid Blue, "Pop music with a purpose."

Liquid Blue's "Supernova" is filled with all kinds of ear candy courtesy of vocalist/keyboardist Stephens, guitarist Michael Vangerov, drummer Jordan Medina, and bassist/saxophonist Rocket Rodriguez.

Liquid Blue's secret weapon -- both on stage and in the recording studio -- may just be The BlueGirls. Singers and dancers Nikki Nova, Devonee Hanke and Layla Loxa sing lead on a good portion of the "Supernova" songs.

If you are ever lucky enough to catch Liquid Blue live, the beauty, moves and distinct voices of The BlueGirls will move you in more ways than one.

And Liquid Blue has strutted its stuff to fans in countries all over the world. The San Diego-based band plays almost 150 shows a year and has a world tour planned for 2004 that will take them to 34 countries. In 2002, the band performed two shows in Dalian, China, for more than 65,000 people each night while the second of those shows was televised to an estimated 700 million viewers in Asia.

But "Supernova" is about capturing the band's magic in the recording studio.

And legendary producer Joe Chiccarelli, a two-time Grammy winner known for his work on numerous platinum albums, immediately jumped at the chance of guiding the band in the studio after hearing some of Liquid Blue's original music.

Recorded in 2004 at Western Studios on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, Liquid Blue created "Supernova" in periods of down time from the road.

So put on some headphones and take a trip with Liquid Blue to the East via the West.

-- STEVEN WARD

Steven Ward is a staff writer with The (Baton Rouge) Advocate and a freelance music journalist. Besides serving as a Senior Editor at Rockcritics.Com, his music writing has been published in Classic Rock and the webzines Pop Matters.Com, Blistering.Com and Ghostland.Com. He has also contributed to The Boston Phoenix, Offbeat and Louisiana Life.
- The Advocate


"It's Official: Nader & Liquid Blue"

by Ken Smith and Scoop Stevens

During a time when most artists seem afraid to speak out politically in either direction, seven-piece San Diego dance band Liquid Blue has gone the extra partisan mile and recorded a political album.

Titled Supernova, the album has brought them much closer to the world of politics than they had counted on.

“One of the songs—‘Real’—is a song about heroes, and it was a dedication to [presidential candidate] Ralph Nader, as well as other great justice fighters,” said keyboardist-songwriter Scott Stephens, who called from Lisbon, Portugal, where the group is beginning a 10-week tour.

“[It’s] a song about… people who fought corrupt systems for the betterment of the common people,” Stephens said, mentioning Nader’s name along with the likes of Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and Cesar Chavez.

After completing Supernova, Liquid Blue “sent a copy to Mr. Nader and thanked him for his work.” Between plastering towns with posters and public speaking appearances, Nader and his staff found time to actually listen to the album—a collection of self-described “world pop” that mixes western melodies with Arabian and East Indian sounds.

The Nader people came across the song ‘If You Gotta Ask,’” Stephens explained, and the tune, with the group’s Nikki Nova on lead vocals, made a surprising connection. “They felt it would be the perfect theme song for Nader’s campaign,” Stephens said.

Although the perennial election martyr won’t command as much media coverage as Bush or Kerry, Liquid Blue’s song will still be heard by millions through TV news shows and rallies.

“Without a doubt, Nader is the best candidate,” Stephens said. “He is not tied to big corporations and is incorruptible.”

Despite his belief in Nader, however, the musician is also a realist. “It would take more than a miracle for him to win,” he admitted. “Our two-party, corporate-driven system does not allow room for independent thinkers. Without the big bucks from special interests, an honest people’s candidate like Ralph has little chance.”

Liquid Blue hopes to participate in Nader promotional events, but due to their continual touring—they will play more than 200 gigs this year, mostly in Europe—it may not be possible.

Having performed in more than 60 countries, Stephens and Liquid Blue have gotten a chance to see first-hand how the rest of the world views America. “We always seek out the people of these countries and try to engage them in conversation,” he said. “I can tell you that since Bush went into office, things have become ugly. The decisions being made by this administration will come back to haunt us for generations.

“It will take years to heal the wounds.”

- San Diego CityBeat


"Ear Opening Blend of Pop Diva Styles"

The debut from this San Diego act is a very ear opening blend of pop diva styles with World embellishments ranging from far and Middle Eastern to Native American. Voiced by three highly talented ladies, the lyrical subject steers clear of typified pop subjects and instead deals poignantly with timely and important issues. Poppy enough to gain widespread notice, yet with high doses of musical intrigue, this group has developed a fresh vehicle for their impassioned messages.
- Music Morsels


"The Vocals Are Haunting"

earBuzz Review: Liquid Blue's vocal approach to their R&B brand of original music wrap harmonies around dynamic instrumental stabs, growls, and grooves. In track "Give me Back My Love", the chorus is infectious - mp3'd here as a clip. "Kashmir" is a Pop percussive guitar tune - with falsetto gentle vocal lines and another chorus that works. In "Rhythm of Love", the pulsating disco ready beat demands strobe lights and a full floor - it has an 80's dance feel to it, that is - no deep driving mid bass line that pushes the R&B music of today - and within that space we are reminded of candy contemporary offerings the likes of Kylie Minogue - but with a deeper, more soulful vocal quality. "Show me Love" has one of the coolest drum/rhythm lines we've heard. The long track here - "Supernova", also the title track, is our favorite. It starts out with atmospheric percussion and keys - and moves into a kind of harmonic minor/Halloween musical bed. The vocals are haunting. Liquid Blue has a firm grasp on pop pleasing R&B writing and recording - and anyone looking for energy in their CD collection would be amiss to not include this in their collection. - EarBuzz.com


"Awesome East Meets West Pop Fusion"

Right away, this tune gets an A+ on production quality and arrangement. Huge sound on this, with great changes and an awesome east-meets-west pop fusion. Liquid Blue is a high energy pop outfit with a big sound and a clear, positive message. Just imagine if Amy Grant and Ravi Shankar had a love child. Now, try to imagine they had seven of them: three vocalist/dancers, a guitarist, a drummer, a DJ and bass player, and a lead vocalist and keyboardist and sent them off to tour Asia (and if you know anything of Ravi, it's not *entirely* out of the question ... love ya', Rav).
Liquid Blue is a world-pop fusion group based out of San Diego, California, with performance credits spanning the globe (count them ... 60 countries), including a televised concert in China to an audience of 65,000 or so. Any band that has its own dancers (especially the BlueGirls© dancers) probably deserves its own stadium.

"Making Up" is a positive pop tune that squarely addresses world conflict and old wounds being healed by simply letting go of the feuds and going forward from today. Okay, so I'm starting to sound a little bit like Amy Grant myself, but after the third listen I swear I was singing along. The introduction to this song is a very solid "sombati", swimming in layers of electronic and percussive sounds; the opening hooks almost make you think you're listening to belly dancing music. The fusion takes a sudden turn down the silk road to the oriental, and then swerves off into the western pop. Singer Nikki Nova steps in and takes over, with awesome harmonies and clean, melodic lead vocals. Of course, a nod to both the keyboardist and guitarist on this tune (Scott Stephens and Michael Vangerov, respectively). Great hooks and layers, all throughout. The transitions, I have got to say, are smooth. Well orchestrated and well performed. Kudos goes out to whomever is doing the arrangements for these guys ... er ... folks.


- BandFreaks.com


"No Other Group Sounds Like Liquid Blue"

Let's see... the last time I saw three female lead vocalists was during the boy/girl-band movement in the late 90's. But wait, this isn't a modern "pop" band. No no my friends, this is something far from that. This is Liquid Blue, a band featuring three female vocalists (Nikki Nova, Layla Loxa, Devonne Dawn), a male vocalist (Scott Stephens), a guitarist (Michael Vangerov), a bassist who also does the horns (Rocket Rodriguez), and of course a drummer (Jordan Medina).

Now, if you're already making assumptions about how this cd will sound, abandon them. There is no way you could possibly guess how this album sounds. Liquid Blue is a combination of western pop melodies and ancient/modern eastern elements, as they describe themselves. You're probably thinking, "gee, that sounds odd", and it does, but not in a bad way at all. The cd is catchy it's EXTREMELY hard to stop it from implanting itself in your head, even upon the first listen.

"Rhythm Of Love" is something I could envision being played in a club, while "Kashmir" is something that you'd imagine being listened to in Egypt. Liquid Blue's intelligent blend of musical genres is almost equivalent to their excellent diction lyrically. With topics ranting about love (in general), political matters, environmental troubles, and original thinkers, you really can't go wrong.

Every song on this cd is different from the one before it, and that's also where the cd succeeds. But I'll be honest, this definitely isn't music I could listen to day after day. Liquid Blue succeeds where so many other musical acts fail today - and that is being original. No other group sounds like Liquid Blue, and this is quite a triumph. Their image is marketable too, which is also hard to do when you're original. The music is catchy, and deserves recognition. I wouldn't be surprised if Liquid Blue were widely recognized in 5 years, if not less. And it's time that you identified them. The combination of adventurous music and ethereal lyrical topics is not something to be taken lightly.

- TheMusicAppraisal.com


"Straight Out of Bollywood"

"The music of Liquid Blue is an exotic blend of western pop melodies with ancient and modern eastern sounds," says the band's website. Liquid Blue also features three hot babes who sing and dance, named Nikki Nova, Layla Loxa and Devonne Dawn.

Liquid Blue seems to be taking Indian pop music and making it palatable to Westerners, the same way Gloria Estefan took Latin music beyond its usual audiences.

Some of the CD sounds like radio pop music, but the background music makes it more interesting than the average DJ fare. There are tablas and emulated strings that sound straight out of Bollywood. And although the three women have porn star names, they carry a tune well enough.

The CD cover reflects this unusual combination, with a stylized mandala on the front, and a picture of the scantily dressed "blue girls" on the back.

Another difference here is the lyrics. Rather than the usual clichés about relationships, the songs deal with topics unusual for pop music. For example, "Making Up" begins: "Israel and Palestine, North and South Korea/So many years apart why I have no idea." Not all of them work, but it is refreshing to hear different themes. Even "Give Me Back My Heart," which sounds like a love song, is a veiled slam at the American occupation of Iraq.

- Southbound Beat Magazine


"Supernova Is Explosive"

Liquid Blue is an eclectic, seven person group based out of California and they tour the world regularly. The band has three very attractive, female vocalists/dancers. The four male members of Liquid Blue play guitars, bass, horns and drums. In addition to their own skills, other talented guest musicians contribute vocals, the tabla, the sitar and turntables. Supernova is an incredible assimilation of genres including alternative pop, dance, exotic rock and world tones galore. Their debut CD is expertly produced by David DeVore and mixed by Joe Chiccarelli. Liquid Blue paints a colorful canvas that starts with a rock base coat and builds on a blend of ancient and modern eastern elements. The music is up-tempo with a diversity of textures that upon first listen is light, yet their lyrics on all fourteen-tracks are deep and provocative. Liquid Blue stirs social conscience with songs about the environment, politics and the spiritual realm. Their visual lyrics paint dark pictures of poverty and Earth's devastation, yet they are blended with hopeful songs such as 'Rhythm of Love' and 'So Close To Heaven'. The CD grabs you with the first song 'Kashmir' with its danceable beat flavored with Middle Eastern tones. The girl's popish harmonizing vocals blend perfectly as they express their concern for people suffering. The song is a juxtapose of light and darkness, a pattern found in many of Liquid Blue's mixes. 'Supernova', the title track, has a catchy rhythm and instrumentation with super vocals but listen closely as the song is ominous with pictures of our damaged Earth. 'Arms of Love' is a prayer for spiritual enlightenment sung over up-beat, techno tones with world flare. Liquid Blue is winning awards and praise for their magical merge of styles and their first release Supernova is explosive!
- Kweevak.com


"A distinctly positive message"

CD Reviews

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MediaSearch.com 2/23/05



Liquid Blue - Supernova
Liquid Blue
From San Diego, California comes a rather challenging melding of dance-pop vibes concerned with some of the today’s issues: overpopulation, environmental concerns, human rights, and wars. It’s all presented succinctly against a mix of Eastern and Western pop influences and is extremely appealing. Already, the band has performed from the settings of clubs to stadiums, especially in Asian territories. They have also performed for US troops and for NATO. With the release of Supernova in 2004, the band became busier than in any prior year. The 2004 Supernova World Tour included 200 shows in 34 countries. There might be references to well-known exponents of pop and dance beats but this 6-piece band pulls out all stops in establishing their own sonic sojourn. It doesn’t need reminding that, upon seeing the band photos, there are three gorgeous women out front that provide the sex appeal and vocal expression to help push their case forward. The captivating presence of the band augments the quality musicianship where some terrific drumming and guitar work is evident. Liquid Blue is strong lyrically and musically. They see no reason to disperse from the western-eastern music mix and for expressing a passion for particular social and political issues. Overall, the band has successfully balanced and integrated world instruments, rhythms and themes back into the pop rock we know well. They have a distinctly positive message throughout their music making this CD enjoyable. It’s a great mix of styles that never stray far enough to possibly isolate anyone who might prefer one style or another.


- MediaSearch.com


Discography

Supernova (LP-2005)
Winner: BEST POP ALBUM, LA Music Awards
Nominated for BEST POP ALBUM, San Diego Music Awards
Track from Supernova featured on 22 compilation CD's!

Earth Passport (Maxi-Single-2010)
Featuring Top-5 Hit Single, Earth Passport

Photos

Bio

Introduction

Liquid Blue is an independent recording and touring act based in San Diego, California. Featuring Scott Stephens and the sensational BlueGirlsŠ trio, the seven-member ensemble has performed in more than 100 countries on 7 continents, a feat which no other band has accomplished. In 2010 the band scored a Billboard Top-10 Hit as Earth Passport went to #3 on the Hot Dance Singles Chart. Liquid Blue and their hit song received a Guinness World RecordŽ for "Song Sung in the Most Languages". Their highly acclaimed LP "Supernova" was awarded Pop Album of the Year in 2009 at the Los Angeles Music Awards. Twice the group has finished runner-up for "Best Band" at the International Music Awards (2006-2007) and was also named "America's Best Independent Artist (2004-2005). The nomadic troop has performed over 2000 shows in over 400 cities and has been featured on five magazine covers. In 2005 Liquid Blue became the first American act to be signed by a major Chinese record label. The group was honored to represent the United States at the CCTV kick-off concert for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. In 2010 Vocalist Nikki Green became the first American to qualify for the finals in Chinese Idol. The National Music Awards named Liquid Blue "America's Best Dance Band" twice. To top things off, Liquid Blue has been certified as a green business. Band alumni include Sony recording star BC Jean, who started her career with Liquid Blue in 2003.

America's Best Dance Band

"Music To Move You" is the band's official slogan and in both their live shows and recordings, Liquid Blue epitomizes dance music. In addition to being honored as "America's Best Dance Band", Liquid Blue was awarded "Best Cover Band" at the San Diego Music Awards and is a Spotlight Awards Finalist for "Entertainer of the Year". The band covers over 600 songs and a multitude of musical styles. With their recent release "Earth Passport" hitting #3 on the Billboard Hot Dance Singles Chart, Liquid Blue has given new meaning to the term "dance band"!

The Band & The Blue Girls

Liquid Blue features two Grammy winning musicians (bass & sax), a former Elektra Records recording artist (guitar), a Billboard hit songwriter (keys) and a Chinese Idol finalist (vocals)! The band has performed sold-out, ticketed shows with audiences up to 65,000 at venues such as The Cow Palace in San Francisco, The Pasadena Civic in Los Angeles and Dalian Stadium in China.

Recordings

Although many fans consider "Dominate" to be the band's best song ever, the multi-language "Earth Passport" became the bands biggest hit, reaching #3 on the Billboard Hot Dance Singles Sales chart and #12 on the Billboard Hot Singles Sales chart. Their critically acclaimed debut CD, "Supernova" sold over 40,000 units and features an exotic fusion of western rock melodies with ancient & modern eastern elements. Produced by David DeVore, (12 multi-platinum LP's) and mixed by (six-time Grammy winner) Joe Chiccarelli, it has been a top-ten seller at CD Baby and was featured on their bestsellers compilation. Tracks from this LP have been included on 25 compilations. The single "Real" was the #1 Indie Label song in the U.S. in 2005 with over 400 spins per week.

Quotes: "Liquid Blue could be the best alternative pop band you hear all year"- (Broadjam). "Supernova is a ground-breaking work and our pick for album of the year"- (New Music Weekly). "Band takes Sgt Pepper to the max"- (North County Times). "Absolutely Stellar"- (GoGirlsMusic). "This band has the ability to seduce with atmosphere and texture"- (TAXI). "Brilliant!"- (Hybrid Magazine). "Straight Out of Bollywood"- (Southbound Beat). "San Diego activist recording artist Liquid Blue stands out as an original and intelligent voice for positive change. The band turns social commentary into art. Their debut album, Supernova, combines western pop melodies with exotic East Indian instrumentation and delivers a hard dose of progressive political commentary. The band aims to raise public awareness with a mission to promote positive social change and shed some light on the dark corners of reality". (Icon Magazine).

Awards: Liquid Blue has an extensive list of accolades, including:

America's Best Independent Artist- PCT Music Top Talent

Best Band- International Music Awards (Runner-Up 2006 & 2007)

Hot AC Group of the Year- New Music Weekly (Nominated 2005)

Best Dance Song- VH1 Song of the Year (Winner 2004)

Best Pop Song- Billboard World Song Contest (Finalist 2006)

Best Pop Album- San Diego Music Awards (Nominated 2005)