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The best kept secret in music


"Lucky 13"

Voice "MEDIOCRE" (Public Transit/Featherperm/12EP) In the fine tradition of Bahamadia and Medusa, New Orleans' Voice comes strong and clear over a jazzy mid-tempo beat by Moonstarr on this Toronto label. Perfect for summer barbecue jams and sunset parties.

-Toph One - XLR8R

"Extended Play w/Denise Benson"

Fall Record Review

Gumbo (Featherperm/Public Transit Recordings)

Raised in LA and New Orleans by an actor father and jazz vocalist mother, Voice describes herself, aptly, as "50 per cent jazz, 50 per cent foot in yo' ass." Making hip-hop with an open heart and approach, Voice tells it like it is with a flow that's easy on the ear. Tales of love, frustration, hip-hop and hope are told over the rim shots, kicks, snares and rump-shaking beats of innovative producers including PTR main man Moonstarr (Gumbo's exec producer), England's Marc Mac (Visioneers, 4 Hero) and T.O.'s Murr and Alister Johnson, a.k.a. Catalist.

One of Gumbo's biggest strengths is the ease of this interplay, with the Catalist-produced "Know Rhythm" being a particular standout. Here, the movement between beats and vocals, jazz and hip-hop is brilliant; those who thought Guru's Jazzmatazz was the real deal, listen and learn. Other highlights include album opener "Fantasy Pt. 1" (where Voice takes aim at the state of hip-hop today and the double standards applied to women), the similarly themed heavy-hitter "Total Eclipse" and Moonstarr-produced gem "Guerilla Hustlin'."

Though Gumbo does not always hit the spot -- the inclusion of instrumental "Circus Tourist" is an odd one while syrupy "1000 Summers" borders on caricature -- it is a bold, biographical and infectious step ahead of the mechanical hip-pop of today. Fans of Bahamadia, Medusa, Ladybug and Aceyalone, take note - Eye Weekly (Toronto)

"Power of Soul: Mc Lady Lil' Foxy Voice"

It was in Entertainment Weekly, so it must be important. In the Sept. 22 issue they reported on the lack of albums female rappers are selling these days. Missy Elliott’s last album The Cookbook reportedly hit 630,000 copies.
Lil’ Kim’s stint in the big house cost her promotion time for her latest, last year’s The Naked Truth, which stuck at 380,000.
The situation’s even worse than weak record sales. The more some damn fool drops a booty-filled rap video, the more the image of women in rap keeps getting spottier. Besides being a recently sprung jailbird, Lil’ Kim has basically turned into a punchline. Foxy Brown halted work on her next album when she went deaf for a year. Queen Latifah doesn’t know if she wants to be the next Ella or the next Whoopi, and Eve is too busy being a sitcom star.
Just like with most acclaimed, little-known male rappers, the best contemporary female MCs—like Jean Grae and England’s Estelle—have yet to receive the Stateside success they deserve.
Jay-Z and his empire are banking on little cockney wigger Lady Sovereign to curb all this madness. Coming from the same grime circles as the Streets and Dizzee Rascal, the Brit drops her major debut Public Warning on Halloween.
But Sov gets enough shine, so let’s turn the lights on 25-year-old married mother of two boys MC Voice. On Gumbo, her latest, she refuses to bling and bitch it up for rap audiences. But if you wanna hear a gal righteously, rhythmically kvetch about the garbage on TV or having to deal with assholes at her job, this album is all for you.
Voice doesn’t get the current state of female rap either. “I’m actually curious why the female MC doesn’t get as much love as she deserves,” she says. “A lot of times I hear people say there are no dope females. Bullshit. I know a couple of dope ones. But because they don’t want to wear bikinis and rap in hot pants and heels, they can’t get a deal.”
It may become an uphill battle for Voice to have her working-class heroine rhymes heard, especially when a queen beotch like Lil’ Kim isn’t getting the numbers she used to. But she should stay the course for all the J.J. Fads, Oaktown’s 357s and other female MCs that time has forgotten.

-Craig D. Lindsey - Philadelphia Weekly

"VOICE-"LA Contradiction""

The smog in L.A. really is unbearable. Seriously. People laugh at Michael because of his hyperbaric oxygen chamber, but unless you’ve actually tried to live in South Central, don’t say nothin’. Worst air ever. Pretty soon they’re gonna have to put a glass bubble around the buildings out there. But of course the hood will probably still be smoggy as hell.

And hell is where we are in femcee Voice’s “L.A. Contradiction." A place of lost angels. A mirage-filled maze where “things always come and go like when you flip the fader.” And since it’s a town “full of illusionists,” as she puts it, having “entertainers” in our government makes perfect sense. This is not California Dreaming—never mind the Wes Montgomery-esque counter-pointing guitar. “Not everyone here pushes an Escalade/Or gets paid like actors and actresses/There were those of us who was assed out when there was no bus” because everybody’s trying to make it month-to-month off the pennies of a welfare check here in hell and that booming bass drum is the weekly funeral death knell and the gunshots heard at night.

Voice on "L.A. Contradiction"

Where do you live?
I live in New Orleans. But I‘m usually in L.A. three to four times a year.

Were you there for Katrina?
We left the day before the hurricane [and] evacuated to a shelter in Lafayette, Louisiana, and then drove out to Los Angeles when we realized the city was shut down. We were evacuated to Los Angeles for six months. :(

Why the sad face... because of the conditions in L.A. or because of what happened in Louisiana?
The sad face because we really didn't anticipate being removed from home for that long. I only packed two days worth of clothes for for us. The house made out alright. We had some roof damage (which affected our recording studio) and some siding/wind damage. But we're blessed.

Was it during that time that “L.A. Contradiction” was composed?
“L.A. Contradiction” came about in spring of ‘04

Was the guitar sampled or was some of that stuff live?
That was one of Murr‘s wicked samples. In terms of production, he's my folksoul.

Talk a little about the vibe you were trying to get across in “L.A. Contradiction.”
I wanted to come as close as possible to conveying how I felt as a struggling artist/lover of life/new mother living in a beautifully fucked-up city.

What do you hope to accomplish with this album?
Filling people‘s bellies with this gumbo. It would be great if this is that record you can always come back to and catch something new. :)

Oct 30
- www.paperthinwalls.com

"The Run-Off Groove:Escaping the Current Pumps And A Bump Era"

n the beginning there was the music, and within the music was the rhythm. On the second track, the DJ spoke over the record and did so in a rhythmic pattern. When it comes to rap music, it was once one part rap, one part music. The rap is created in the mind, and executed by the voice. In any genre of music, the early bird has to get the worm. It does come as a surprise that no one in hip-hop has ever presented them as Voice, but a woman from New Orleans has done this in recent years and has not gained a lot of attention. It is a shame, but we're going to change that right here, through the release of her debut album, Gumbo (Featherperm/Public Transit Recordings).

Voice may come as a surprise to a lot of hip-hop fans, for she is not a woman who is about shaking her ass rhythmically for her man in the video. In her world, Bimbo is nothing more than a loaf of bread at the Mexican market, and the word "bitch" is used by weak minded people who have no heart or soul. It's the kind of strength that I've always admired in female MC's, and Voice is someone who brings to mind the power of Bahamadia, Mystic, and Princess Superstar, along with Mos Def, Common, and Blueprint. Throughout the album, she calls out bullshit as she sees it and isn't afraid to condemn what she feels isn't right. In "Fantasy (Part 1)", she looks at the modern day teenage wasteland and compares it to what she experienced in her youth:

How would you feel if you had to see this shit all the time
Rap's now about the flash, used to be about the rhyme
As a kid, hip-hop used to be this fantasy
Now the industry's selling me a fucking tragedy

I just try to keep living my life and just be
But it's kinda hard when you turn on the TV
And all it seems to do is perpetuate your insecurties
And, I know, these other women shouldn't be concerning me
But they do, and not because I'm trying to look like you
See, I do have issues concerning self-esteem
Especially when it seems
I'm being mediafucked from all angles as you dangle ass and titties right in front of me
Can't sell a thing unless it's neatly packaged in sex
And lacking morality, and the ladies
They gotta be superfly while the men barely get by
Hmmm, what kind of world is this?
Living in the land of double standards, double take, I'd rather make it
On my merit than fake it and wear a mini-skirt, simply earn it
And don't compare me to a living legend when I don't deserve it
Just because my album sells a million copies in a nanosecond
(Do you know what you just did?) Yeah I said it
And when all this info comes into your head, you'll soon forget it

The second verse proceeds to bash the men, and telling them they should respect the mother of their children, the woman who still calls him by his first name and knows what it's like to be the wife of an entertainer. The first song is a swift foot in the ass for those who have been getting by with hip-hop, but she puts that on the side and allows the listener to discover Voice's world as a woman struggling with a day job, with children, and trying to balance that with a career. It's the authentic, real, down to earth side of being a rapper that she wants to share, one that you're not going to see on Cribs or the latest VH-1 Celebreality Show, and often times a side people outside of hip-hop's audience never or refuses to admit to.

Voice is wise beyond her years, but as a woman she's had to put up with a lot of crap from all angles, and that has developed into a writing and rapping style that will blow away those who forgot (or refuse to admit) what hip-hop was, and still very much is. As she says on the album, there was a time when the music didn't rely on the visual, you knew when the song was bangin' when you listened. She realizes that there's a generation of hip-hop fans who are excited by the visuals but not really listening to anything that is being said. For those who will listen, they will be treated by an earful of energy, references, good spirit, and strength. It's knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, still very much in existent in today's hip-hop and manifested by a woman living in L.A. but still calls New Orleans home. Gumbo, as the cover indicates, is a pinch of this and a spoonful of that, sprinkled over a steaming pot of the goodness. You know how good it is, but touch it and you'll get burned. Voice is burning to the rim and the rich taste is bitter and sweet, as well as humorous if you read between the lines. She speaks of the struggle but knows that her life and efforts will only help improve the experiences of the next generation.

If she is on a mission, it's simply to awaken the mentally dead by recording quality music in the first decade of the 21st century. For those who feel that a female MC is only good in the kitchen and in bed, Voice is dishing out uncurable cases of blueballs.

-John Book

Personal picks: "Fantasy Part 1", "Necksnap", "Sunny Outside (In L.A.)", "Mediocre", and "1000 Summers".

(MP3 samples of the album can be heard by clicking here.

The vinyl and CD for Gumbo are both available through Featherperm Records.

Japanese CD pressing includes two extra tracks, and is still available for a limited time through Public Transit Recordigns.

Digital download of the album can be had through iTunes.) - www.musicforamerica.org

"Voice, GUMBO (Featherperm/Public Transit Recordings)"

Following strong performances on the ‘Know Rhythm’ 12 plus capable guest slots for Zero Db and Marc Mac’s Visioneers, New Orleans’s hungry mic controller Voice drops the full length. Very much in the smooth conversant style of Bahamadia and the sometime-sung delivery of Ursula Rucker she runs through lamentations about the current “flash” of hip hop, witty asides about the drudgery of anonymous checkout work in LA, and clueless male perceptions of today’s women, all the while lacing the smoked out jazz off-beat with “context” and Cajun crunch. Production from Moonstarr, Arch Typ, Murr and Marc Mac (the catchy ‘Total Eclipse’) is decidedly modern, warped and will draw favour with the nu jazz/broken heads – check ‘Know Rhythm’ for some major low-end mayhem. An assured debut from the free-flying firebird who promises “to stand on the plate and bring you something interesting”. (AP)

- Straight No Chaser

"Figure of Speech, New Orleans MC Voice has PLENTY to say"

Figure of Speech - New Orleans MC Voice has plenty to say
by Erin MacLeod

Known simply as Voice, it’s clear that this woman wants to be heard. She may have been born to perform—her mother was a jazz singer, her father an actor—but she’s gotta make sure that what she’s performing makes sense to herself. And it’s making sense to more folks than Voice expected. In France, in January, people were already singing her hooks and her brand of hip hop’s getting respect left right. I took the time to listen over the phone from Toronto, where the LA-bred, Louisiana-rooted Voice was launching a tour to support Gumbo, her new record that’s as delicious as it is diverse.

EM: Over the past year, there’s been a lot of attention on New Orleans, for obvious reasons. How did all this impact you? How much is New Orleans a part of who you are?

V: Without New Orleans, this album wouldn’t have been made. That’s where my musical roots are, that’s where my mother and my father are from. Even though I grew up in Los Angeles, I’d check back in to New Orleans because of the grandparents and cousins. It’s a city that always spoke to me visually, artistically—there is just something in the air down there. I was done with this project before the hurricane, so naming the album Gumbo and connecting it with New Orleans, had nothing to do with the hurricane. For me, though, the whole situation that’s happened with the hurricane and the recovery and being evacuated for six months, just the limbo that I was in. It really made me step up my game as an artist, as a business person, because it made me realize that your comfort could be pulled from under you at any time and you have to be ready to just roll with the punches. Now, if I can get through a catastrophic hurricane, nothing can affect me!

EM: Having your roots in the southern states, where do you see yourself as regards southern hip hop? You don’t seem like you fit in with the big white t-shirt, jeans, and grills-sporting crowd.

V: I’m not a white t and gold grill sorta person! But my husband seems like he might be turning into it! (laughs) I gotta keep an eye on that guy. But it’s a very different flavour from what I do, but surprisingly, a lot of people down there embrace what I do. Just because that’s what’s successful commercially, it’s what everybody is particularly feeling out there. When you get down there and you talk to individuals, it’s a very musical town, there’s many different types of music that exist besides the south hop crunk street music. I’ve actually been received pretty well, because I think that New Orleans appreciates good music. It surprised me because I thought, “I can’t promote this in this market. There’s no room for me.” But I pass stuff to people all the time; I’ve had programmers really push to get stuff on bigger radio stations. They might get the thumbs down, but the fact that they even put forth the initiative to push my music means a lot.

EM: You seem to connect the south with the north, given your creative connections with Canada.

V: I came up to Toronto and I met a crop of producers and the Public Transit Recordings family and it felt like “this is the music I’ve been wanting to make.” Before I even got back to New Orleans, I was feeling frustrated, musically, in Los Angeles because I felt like I couldn’t find the sound that I wanted, the music that spoke to me. I came to Toronto, linked with people, recorded, cultivated friendships, went back to LA, moved to New Orleans, started creating. It’s interesting. I find that wherever I am, typically in the states, I don’t ever fit in. You get little pockets where people are working on different types of music. It’s just not a unified movement in Los Angeles. When I originally brought back material I had done in Toronto to Los Angeles, people were just like “What is this?” So I’m used to that kind of reception. It’s surprising to me that this album has been received the way that it has because I thought it was just going to be this project I did, it would be something I could tell my kids down the line: “Mommy made a record when you guys were too little to know.” I had no idea people would feel it the way that I felt it.

It’s almost like a global tie-in because for Gumbo there’s Los Angeles, Toronto, New York, Ohio, the UK, and I worked on the project all over. It pulls from all different directions. I feel that as an MC I bring my West coast flavour, my laid back attitude, my liberal tough-ass perspective, from the south I bring the party element, cause that’s what New Orleans is about. It’s a big party town—we throw a party for everything. I wanted to make something that people would enjoy—that I knew would sound good, over a sound system, loud speakers, but I also wanted to bring me to it, bring a message, but not make it overbearing, make it fun. I feel like I brought the party element from New Orleans, my perspective from the west coast, the music from Canada, the UK. It’s that kind of gumbo. After I listened to the project in its entirety, it just felt like this big meaty stew to me. I was thinking: “What am I going to call this? Does this material even belong together?” Once I got to listening to it I was wondering, what does this remind me of? And then I thought, this reminds me of a pot of gumbo. You got the real meaty stuff, the filling stuff, you got all these different flavours, and you might not think they work together but when you taste it, it’s like, damn! It’s who I am, I go all over the place and I link with people and I don’t limit myself. None of this was really planned.

EM: What brought you to Toronto?

V: The concept of the album wasn’t planned. But coming to Toronto was definitely a strategic move. In 2001, I was doing studio sessions, doing some writing for artists in Los Angeles, I had done it in New York, I wanted to start finding myself musically. I was meeting some good producers, and I liked the music, but I wasn’t finding anything that really moved me. I was kinda frustrated. I was talking in the car one night about how frustrated I was and a good friend of mine said “I’ve got something for you” and she pops in this CD by LAL. And I’m like “What is this?” She started laughing and said “these are some of my homies from Toronto, we did a festival together and this is their album.” And I said: “You’ve got to link me with these people.” So, she called up Rosina Kazi and told her that I was interested in coming up to meet them and Rose and Nick Murray from LAL opened up their home to me for two weeks. We recorded, Rose introduced me to Moonstarr, I recorde with Moon at the last minute and from there, something special, I didn’t know what it was, something special about the whole experience. It was the first time that I did music that I was proud of, that I listened to on the train ride back to New York, listening to the songs I recorded up there over and over. This is bad, I thought, am I this into myself? And I realized that I just liked the music. I found who I am as an artist.

EM: In hip hop when there are female MCs, it seems like there’s either the sexed-up girls or the tomboys, where do you see yourself?

V: I see myself as a lyricist, first and foremost and then my gender identity comes next. In a lot of reviews I read it’s almost like they want to coin me the feminist rapper. That wasn’t the intention. I can only write about what I know. I am a woman. I’m a mother and a wife, so that’s going to be my perspective on things. It’s not necessarily feminist rap, it just is rap to me, but it seems like because it’s a female it has to be a feminist thing. I don’t quite understand. I just do what I do and don’t change who I am for anybody, so what you hear on record is pretty much who I am in person. I am that enigma, but you meet me and I’m a little bit of both. I can wear the tight pants, but with kicks and an old t-shirt. I’m not down-playing my femininity, but I’m not also up-playing my toughness. I used to think I had to do that. It’s not my nature to be a brute on the mic or in general. I just decided that I am who I am, which is the frustrating thing about living in Los Angeles. There are so many other factors that go into making music—it’s not just the music in LA. It’s about the business, so when I’d make the music and submit it and people would meet me and we’d have all these talks about image it was very frustrating for me because I didn’t feel that I’m the dolled-up glam-shot chick.

EM: Well, there are not too many hip hop artists that are speaking from the perspective of being a wife and a mom.

V: Yeah. In hip hop everybody’s writing about or has a desire to be these larger than life characters with all these unattainable things that I was like, “I don’t know about any of that stuff.” I know about getting up every day, going to work, paying bills, feeding my kids, hustling, loving, living, learning. I can’t play myself out and write about *bleep* I don’t know. I can write stories, that’s wonderful to me. But people are going to respect you at the end of the day if you’re yourself. The minute I try to be somebody I’m not, there’s going to be a whole line up of people waiting to pull my card. So I thought, why don’t I just bring me to this project? I felt like I did. I’ve always been that female who’s kicked it with a lot of dudes, but not the tomboy. Hip hop has always been so male dominated and that’s what I’ve been really really into. But I was always the female who was respected amongst the dudes because I put my foot down and didn’t take any *bleep*. If it’s worked for me thus far, let me continue with who I am. People seem to like it.

EM: A lot of your lyrics are about daily life, but you do complain a little about hip hop.

V: I do that with “Fantasy Pt. 1,” “Mediocre,” “Total Eclipse,” and “Sign Where?” These are the songs that brokedown from all directions the state of hip hop. The misrepresentation of women in hip hop, what my position is being an insider and what I have to go through and then what my experience is as a woman. A majority of the album, however, doesn’t address that. It’s more about just being a working class person. Cultivating relationships with people and how those kinds of things end up. I understand that when you kick the door down and the first track on your album is a track like “Fantasy,” which is the point. For those of you who don’t know me, bam, this is me, but then I feel like the album progresses into more nuances of my personality. I feel like people focus on the fact that I am a woman in hip hop, but I feel like we’ve addressed it.

I wasn’t just trying to complain about hip hop, but it just genuinely came from a place of frustration. I’d have these conversations with my husband, saying “Why don’t I like rap music any more, I used to love it! Why do I find myself changing the channel? Why do I feel uninterested?” I wasn’t hearing good lyrics, music was good, but it appalls me to see, and I can’t sit through a video that just disrespects me on so many levels. I can’t support an artist that disrespects me. You can’t do it. I’d have this conversation with my husband a lot and he wouldn’t get it because he’s a man. And he didn’t want to get it. Most of these songs came from conversations that I had with other women and men who were open minded enough to make comments about things that they saw. I remember having a conversation with some guys who were saying that pretty women is one thing, but who just wants to see pretty women on TV. No women are coming out to shows and who wants to be in a room full of dudes? I thought it was funny. Men were thinking themselves. I wanted to support this music but I’d be a hypocrite to support something that looks at me the way that it does. I felt I had to say something about it; I had to purge my system.

EM: But in addition to making complaints, your lyrics are quite funny and clever.

V: Thank-you! People seem to want to paint me as super deep. But if you know me, I’m one of the silliest people—goofy, I don’t take myself that seriously. Everything is pretty much jokes with me. It’s my opinion that it’s frustrating that this is the state of things.

EM: Some of the images that you paint are a little bit self-depreciating, looking at yourself and laughing about how ridiculous the gulf between yourself and those women on TV.

V: That’s the key word: ridiculous. In “Fantasy Pt. 1” I just wanted to breakdown how ridiculous things have gotten. To me, I’d turn on the TV and be laughing, asking myself “is this for real? Is my life just so out of touch at this point?” I know hip hop is a youth culture, so I’m thinking perhaps this aint for me anymore! But then I’d start laughing with other people about the silly *bleep* that we’d see. And I don’t limit this to others, there’s also ridiculous things that I do.

Tunes that teach
Voice’s appearance in Montreal on March 3, 2007 kicked off International Women’s Week. Seeing as 2007 is 30th anniversary of International Women’s Day, Voice came up with a short list of tunes: women’s voices that have meant something, taught, and inspired her.

Sarah Vaughan
“Pretty much anything she’s ever done. I can’t even pick a track. Her voice and her style is amazing.”
Bjork, “Venus as a Boy”
“A key track. It’s from a time when I was younger and I must have listened to it a hundred times. She used to always amaze me musically. But I also knew that this was a women that was behind the scenes, that she led a group.”
M’shell N’dgecello, “Earth”
“She inspires me. This track was from around the time when I was really coming in to my own, musically and she’s just always been great. Each project she has put out I’ve been thoroughly pleased with and they just seem to get better and better. She’s always been somebody that I feel just does her thing whether she fits into the mainstream loop of what’s going on or not. She just stays true to herself and I can hear that.”
Joni Mitchell, “Big Yellow Taxi”
“She’s just a phenomenal story writer and singer and artist. I went through a heavy Joni Mitchell phase. She made me focus on my writing. I’ve always written, but it used to be a lot more scattered, but she taught me that you can’t paint really intricate pictures with words and music and make it work.”
- Montreal Mirror by Erin MacLeod

"Free Speech"

Think Bahamadia gone 2.0, or Monie Love and Latifah text messaging their buddies. That's the vibe of MC Voice, hailing from New Orleans. A good southern girl, she's titled her solo debut album, GUMBO. Groovy and jazzy, Gumbo is brought to earth with the ruminations of a thoroughly modern wife, mother and hip hop head. It also reflects her bicoastal roots. "Los Angeles is where i cultivated my laidback nature and approach to making music," she explains of her birthplace. "New Orleans is where I get my flavor and ability to move to my own beat. It's also a city that helps me slow down and appreciate a lot of the smaller things that are important." Voice has recently brought her family home to New Orleans, where they are the only family to return to their old neighborhood since Katrina. If anyone can have 'em singin' and swingin' again, we'll put our money on Voice

-AC - Trace Magazine


G Frequency's LET'S BEGIN (Domination/Goon Trax) 2008
Pat D's TAKE A LITTLE TIME (P Vine) 2008
Wax Tailor HOPE 7& SORROW (Decon/Atmospheriques) 2007
Aaron Jerome's TIME TO REARRANGE (BBE) 2007
GUMBO (PTR/Featherperm Records) 2006
Marc Mac presents VISIONEERS DIRTY OLD HIP HOP ( BBE/Omniverse) 2006
Mo & Grazz FALLIN' UPON DEF EARS(Draaischijf) 2006
Broadcite Unplugged Vol 2 INTERNAL REFLECTION (Broadcite) 2005
DUPONT (Public Transit Records) 2002
SCATTERED SNARES- ACROSS THE TRACKS (Twisted Funk/Public Transit Records) 2002




Don’t look now, but music is changing. And I’m not talking about downloading or filesharing or emcees endorsing cowboy boots or any of the usual “music is changing” hooha that web writers get paid hefty salaries to pull out of their ass. The people who make our music are changing. How, you ask? Simple. They’re becoming us. Or, we’re becoming them. Whichever you prefer. You no longer have to be some kind of conflicted basket case, needled-up attention whore or adolescent horror story in order to succeed as a musician. All you have to do is make good music – and you’re free to be yourself. And Los Angeles-bred, New Orleans residing, two-children-one-husband-having workinglovingstrugglingcomplainingcooingcajolingrapping Renaissance woman Voice is nothing if not herself. And she seems to have the good music part down somewhat too.

A child actress coming from a family with roots in the entertainment industry, Voice was almost a showbiz train-wreck herself. Fortunately, her people’s roots run way deeper than Hollywood, both her parents calling New Orleans, Louisiana home, and raising young Voice equal parts in both cities. Her mother is celebrated jazz vocalist Zardis, who mentored under Horace Silver, Herb Mickman (former musical director of Sarah Vaughan), the late Billy Higgins and Barry Harris, among many other notables. Her sister was part of PG-13, a group that had a song called “What’s Your Name” on the Sound Control Mob’s Compton Compilation, which was released in 1989 and featured the first commercially released song from MC Eiht’s crew Compton’s Most Wanted. And that is the Voice paradox in a nutshell: 50% jazz, 50% foot in yo ass. Her tone is smooth, warm, sultry, steady; but it’s the faintest tilt that she gives the most random words and syllables that reminds you (if you are actually listening) that she ain’t here for baby-talk and holding hands, unless you’re her baby or her man.

Voice was first introduced to the world (well, Japan) on 2002’s The Christie And Dupont EP, an import-only release on Canadian label Public Transit Recordings produced by PTR mascot Moonstarr, who has gone on to become Voice’s most constant partner in crime, producing her follow-up outing “BB Girl”, which appeared on the Scattered Snares Across The Track album from the same year (Twisted Funk Records). Her debut solo album Gumbo, also released courtesy of the venerable folks at PTR, is an intoxicating… stew of the cities and experiences that birthed it: Los Angeles, Toronto, New Orleans, New York, hip-hop, jazz, house, lounge, being broke, being frustrated, finding love, creating love, putting it all together and moving forward. You know, everyday life shit. Just way more interesting.