Sharon Rae North
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Sharon Rae North

Richmond, Virginia, United States | SELF

Richmond, Virginia, United States | SELF
Band Jazz R&B


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"Featured Artist: Sharon Rae North"

Featured Artist: Sharon Rae North

CD Title: The Way You Make Me Feel

Year: 2007

Record Label: Northstar Entertainment Group

Style: Jazz Vocals

Review: After years of success performing live, Sharon Rae North is now launching her second—-and much anticipated CD, The Way You Make Me Feel. Comfortable with her self and her talents, North has a smooth delivery punctuated with impeccable timing and firm control over the flowing notes.
Assisted in writing and producing her latest effort, Vic Smiley contributed music and arrangements on several songs. Says North, “He’s the baddest guitar player on the planet -— and, he’s produced some gospel groups in Cleveland. He’s also on the new album by UGK and has done work with Yung Joc. He’s a very sought after guitarist. And, he did all the production on my project and arranged nearly every song.”
North has wowed crowds across America as she opened for Patti LaBelle, worked with Clarence “Doctor Bob” Ross, saxophone player for the Isley Brothers and music programmer for Chaka Khan, En Vogue, New Edition and others. She has also performed with keyboardist for James Brown, Jerry “Louie” Poindexter. Current keyboard player, Keith “Keecho” Rawls also is a former music director for Peabo Bryson.
North blew the crowd away during Mobile, Alabama's Bayfest 2006 celebration. With all this experience, it was only natural Sharon Rae North would create a soulful, groove laden, heartfelt album, riding the wave to success.
Soft, gentle, and romantic, title track, “The Way You Make Me Feel” offers a dreamy feeling as Sharon Rae North’s angelic voice expresses yearnings for her lover. A nice backing of keyboards and drums allows North’s heartfelt expression to shine to this Bossa Nova beat.
Perky, upbeat, “The Things You Do To Me,’ brings out the depth of North’s vocals. A balanced arrangement by Vic Smiley shares swank saxophone of DeWayne Martin with Jon Roberts on Bass, giving North a pleasant background for her reaching vocals.
Written by Harry Nilsson, “One” is a fondly remembered tune, originally done by Three Dog Night. Driven by melancholy, portrayed with North’s sultry, crystal voice and background vocals provided by Melvin Sephus—a soft, gentle backing. North does a slower, gentler interpretation than the original.
Vic Smiley stands out on his music and arrangement, “Something About” as he finds a smooth groove on guitar and drum programming, then joins in the lyrics with North for this slow tune.
Keyboardist Keith “Keecho” Rawls joins with Vic Smiley’s drum accompaniment to North’s strong, vibrating lead vocal on “It’s No Wonder.” Dynamic strings surround North’s dreamy tone. Remarks DJ Carmen Brown: “The ‘vamp’ on “It’s No Wonder,” reminds me of Nina Simone with a little bit of Della and Ella tossed in for color.
Made famous by Donny Hathaway, “We’re Still Friends,” is taken in a soulful direction by North with a lingering, languishing tone, accentuated by the impassioned keyboard of Christian Robinson, a soft bass roll by Jeff Johnson and air guitar played by Victor “Mooty” McCoy.
Spunky, funky, “Gotta Get Away” picks up the beat as Keith “Keecho” Rawls adds his keyboard and drum programming to this lively number. Melvin Sephus adds extra dimension with his background vocals, closing the album on an upbeat note.
After the acclaimed success of North’s 2003 release, The Thing You Do To Me, it’s a likely prediction her new album will rate high on the charts, crossing jazz, pop, soul, R&B, and find a home with hip listeners everywhere.

Tracks: The Way You Make Me Feel, The Things You Do To Me, One, Something About, It’s No Wonder, We’re Still Friends, Gotta Get Away

Record Label Website:

Reviewed by: Nina Goodrich
Copyright© 2007®. All Rights Reserved.

"Silky smooth, seductive, spot-on vocals"

SHARON RAE NORTH The Way You Make Me Feel - Silky smooth, seductive, spot-on vocals are what you’ll find on this delightful release from Sharon Rae North. The Ohio-born, Atlanta-based singer recruited an exceptional group of musicians for this sophisticated recording, including producer/arranger Vic Smiley on guitar as well as Niles McKinney (Levert) on keys, Melvin Sephus (The Rude Boys) on supporting vocals and Jon Roberts on bass. Sharon’s voice reminds me of a fresh Anita Baker… it’s that smooth and commanding. The quality and control of her vocals are truly impeccable and trust me when I tell you that this consistency is a rare find in the world of vocals. The majority of the tracks on THE WAY YOU MAKE ME FEEL are written or co-written by Sharon with the exception of a very evocative version of the Three Dog Night classic, “One,” and an intoxicating cover of Donny Hathaway’s “We’re Still Friends.” In addition to the breezy and easy title track, “The Way You Make Me Feel,” my favorite tune is the deliciously soulful and sensual “Something About.” This 7-song collection is one of the most compelling vocal projects to cross my desk in a good while. It is my desire that Sharon Rae North is not only featured on Smooth Jazz radio across the U.S. and abroad, but also embraced by the Smooth Jazz community all over the world. That’s the way her music makes me feel. ~SANDY SHORE


"Sharon Rae North quite simply, has a great voice"

Sharon Rae North quite simply, has a great voice. She has a quiet confidence beaming from her pretty face on the cover of her new CD The Way You Make Me Feel.
I have set aside three separate occasions to listen to this recording and every time I walked away feeling something different. Actually, I went through several different emotions taking in this music but mainly it made me feel alive, good about being a sensitive and cerebral human being.
The singer has a calming and soothing vocal style yet it is sensual and warm at the same time. She has perfect tone and inflection for the songs she sings and the music arrives, for the most part, subtly behind her, which is just the right thing for what she is trying to accomplish here. Smooth and contemporary jazz is the main genre explored and the musicianship does her style justice, continually complimenting her intonations throughout the run of this CD. Primarily Sharon stays the course with one formula, stretching out on three arrangements by Vic Smiley (who also contributes some good guitar playing and drum programming) and she does an exceptional job with Harry Nilsson’s classic “One.” It is not until the closer that Sharon decides to change direction. “Gotta Get Away” features some funky disco era keyboards and highlights her flexibility to switch over to a more pop oriented tune.
I really enjoyed this album, all the tracks, and think Sharon Rae North has a bright future ahead with any road she takes musically. She has the kind of voice that could adapt to nearly any style and a classy striking appearance of a diva on the rise.
Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck-January 5, 2007

"Sharon Rae North"

"The Way You Make Me Feel" by Sharon Rae North is one very smooth jazz collection! Immediately, listeners notice Sharon's highly disciplined, soulful and sultry vocals. There is a certain mesmerizing quality associated with Sharon's vocal tone. What's more, the musical soundscapes of these love-and-heartbreak-inspired tunes are - simply put - splendid. "The Things You Do To Me" demonstrates this, delivering a beautiful sax solo while illuminating the captivating quality of Sharon's vocal performances. From start to finish, "The Way You Make Me Feel" is engaging, compelling, and very memorable.
-Xavier P. and

"Chris Digging Deeper"

Ohio native Sharon Rae North sings many shades of jazz and writes her own compositions. She has opened for major artists, such as Patti LaBelle and has headlined at numerous events, including the 2006 Summer Concert Series in Durham, North Carolina.

Her soul/funk credentials look good too: she has worked with Bootsy’s keys man Joel "Razor Sharp" Johnson, Michael "Kidd Funkadelic" and James Brown’s veteran keys man Jerry "Louie" Poindexter.

Sharon’s first CD, a 4-song demo, has received airplay in the United States and abroad. After performing "Get Here" at New York’s famed Apollo Theater, Sharon was asked by C.P. Lacey, also known as "The Sandman", to sit in with his nine-piece band. She performed a live duet with recording artist Cherelle and sang back-up at an event for singer/actress Rain Pryor (Richard’s daughter).

Sharon performs throughout Atlanta and nationally and will soon perform internationally, having been invited to headline in Shanghai. She also has had requests to perform in at Croatia’s Jazz in Lapidarij Festival and in Taiwan and Portugal.

The opener and title track to this second CD has a gentle samba sway and although the synth strings and piano are tasteful and very enjoyable, it’s Sharon’s voice which is the undisputed star here. It has a huskiness with a hint of vulnerability which, for me, is a great combination. On The Things You Do to Me, there is a less intimate sound with brass samples and a synthesized drum track. You’ll be drawn in though, because the sneaky sax licks and very strong hook get you reaching for the repeat button.

The Harry Nilsson-penned One is a plaintive ballad and Vic Smiley’s acoustic guitar here provides the lovely accompaniment to Sharon’s warm tones. Subtle jazz guitar opens the very sexy Something About. The drums and percussion on here sound very natural and this song is so well performed and recorded it’s an absolute joy to listen to. Vic Smiley collaborated with Sharon on the original songs on this set and his deft touch enhances everything.

Smooth Jazz radio should be picking up on It’s No Wonder. It has a lovely sway and, despite synthesized drums, it moves very nicely. Sharon’s phrasing is perfect and you won’t miss a word of this pretty lyric. The brooding intro to We’re Still Friends promises something deep and soulful à la Millie Jackson. Sharon doesn’t get down-and-dirty (either lyrically or vocally) like that but it’s still a lovely song full of meaning. On her next CD, I’d love to hear Sharon going for it more without losing the engaging warmth in her voice, and at the end of this song I can hear faint suggestions of how good that could sound… The closer, Gotta Get Away, is more upbeat and brassy than the previous songs. It’s very catchy with its strong hook, brass samples and snappy backing vocals.

CD Baby (where you can buy the CD) recommends Sharon’s CD for those who like Etta James, Oleta Adams and Randy Crawford. The last two are fair comparisons – Sharon’s voice has the same relaxed, sultry quality that they both have – and it would only take a big push from a Smooth Jazz/NAC station to get Sharon’s voice better known and her name up there.



"The Way You Make Me Feel" - 2007

"The Things You Do to Me" - 2003



Sharon Rae North’s mother once told her, “No matter what you do on the outside, you’re a singer on the inside.”

This talented songstress sings jazz (straight-ahead, contemporary, smooth, etc.) and standards. Though, she often adds in some jazzy versions of R&B and Top 40 hits. Her first commercial CD “The Way You Make Me Feel” continues to receive airplay internationally and has received phenomenal reviews and sales from around the globe.

Sharon's countless performances include opening for major artists, such as Joe Sample and the Crusaders, Jean Carne and Patti LaBelle. She's opened for Chaka Khan, Lalah Hathaway, Boney James, Norman Brown and several other national artists at this summers Jazz at Maymont Festival in Richmond, VA. .

Sharon has performed at venues and events nationwide, such as the famed Twins Jazz in D.C., the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Isaac Hayes Restaurant in Memphis, Tennesee, and was a regular performer at the Ritz Carlton Reynolds Plantation in Greensboro, GA, which is the same venue where country music superstar Carrie Underwood got married in July.
She was tapped to sing the National Anthem before an audience of thousands during the annual 4th of July celebration at the Double-A, 5-Diamond Ritz-Carlton Reynolds Plantation in Greensboro, Georgia. She was asked by the King Center in Atlanta to sing at a special memorial service for the late Corretta Scott King. She has headlined at numerous events, including the Summer Concert Series in Durham, NC and the Main Street Jazz Festival in Greenville, SC.

Sharon has worked with Joel “Razor Sharp” Johnson, keyboard player for funk-masters Bootsy Collins and George Clinton, piano virtuoso Frank “Buzz” Amato, who accompanied Curtis Mayfield for many years, pianist Walter Bland, the only musician listed on the soundtrack of the HBO series Oz. Walter also has written scores for PBS shows and NPR programs. Others include, drummer Jimmy “Junebug” Jackson, who played with jazz great Jimmy Smith for nearly two decades, keyboard player Keith “Keecho” Rawls, who played for Peabo Bryson and for the UniverSoul Circus, and keyboardist Danny Jackson, who has produced for Grammy winning artist India.Arie. She also has worked with Michael “Kid Funkadelic” Hampton, lead guitarist for George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic and has done sessions with Clarence “Doctor Bob” Ross, the current saxophone player and back-up singer for the Isley Brothers and music programmer for Chaka Khan, En Vogue, New Edition and many others. She has performed with Jerry “Louie” Poindexter, and Roberty "Mousey" Thompson, both band members for the “Godfather of Soul”, James Brown and jazz recording saxophonist, Derwin Daniels of "Sugarfoot's Ohio Players". Derwin also produced Sharon’s first CD, a 4-song demo, which has received international airplay.

After performing “Get Here” at New York’s famed Apollo Theater, Sharon was asked by C.P. Lacey, also known as “The Sandman”, to sit in with his nine-piece band. She performed a live duet with recording artist Cherelle and sang back-up at an event for singer/actress Rain Pryor, daughter of late comedian Richard Pryor.