Artist Name: d’Z & Katie Leone
Song Title: Lovin’ & Dancin’
Genre: Melodic Groove Jazz-Funk
Release Date: May 28, 2018
d’Z & Katie Leone – Lovin’ & Dancin’
Born to a conservative family in Rotterdam, the gateway to Europe, the life of Dutch drummer and composer Hans-Peter de Zeeuw a.k.a d’Z changed at the age of nine when he took his first drum lesson. He sat down behind the drumkit, the feel of the drumstick comfortable as if they had been waiting for this moment to meet. He knew he was destined to be a drummer. By 19, d’Z attended the largest conservatory for pop, jazz, and world music in Europe, being taught by leading musicians of the Netherlands. He thrived while exploring the richness of music’s different styles and genres. It wasn’t long before d’Z was a sought-after drummer known for his inherent sense of groove and ability to allow fellow musicians to shine. With his career as a professional drummer in full swing, d’Z took to composing his own music. Giving voice to the melodies that filled him and finding inspiration from Incognito, Steely Dan, The Brand New Heavies, Tower of Power, and Gino Vannelli. It wasn’t until the summer of 2016, d’Z decided to record. His mandate was simple. An EP of music made without concessions. He hand chose five original tunes with the Jazz-Funk flavor he so loved and went straight to his favorite producer, Raoul Soentken. The two began making plans to record “Connected” using some of Holland’s best musicians. In the very early stages of the journey, it was clear each song demanded a different vocalist which would prove to be a challenge the duo took on with gusto. The participation of Katie Léone (Incognito, Chaka Khan, The Brand New Heavies, Jocelyne Brown), lifted the project to a higher level. There was a buzz forming in the local music scene. Comments like “What a pleasant surprise”, “This is a HOT production” and “You guys sound brilliant on this”, were heard over and over again. After having recorded four out of five tunes (with Freddi Lubitz, a German singer/kick-ass bass player, Ingmar Glerum, a Dutch young vocal/guitar talent, and Adriana Romeijn, a well-known singer in the Netherlands) there was one song proving difficult to find the right vocalist. Searching for the perfect fit, d’Z asked American vocalist Sandra St Victor, former singer of The Family Stand, long-time background singer for Chaka Khan, and two times Grammy nominee to lend her soulful voice to the title song “Connected”. She accepted and the rest, as they say, is history! d’Z’s much-anticipated album “Connected” is released June 2nd, 2018. With his often socially conscious lyrics and groove-based songs, d’Z feels the need to reach out, connect and – if only for a brief time – give people a place to feel love, hope, and lightness.
Tell us how you fund your music projects.
Since this is the first project I funded it all by myself. I consider it an investment. However, I’d like to do some crowdfunding for the next album that I’m planning to record about two years from now.
Share your press release and reviews with us.
Born in Rotterdam, Dutch drummer and composer Hans-Peter de Zeeuw a.k.a. d’Z made his debut EP at the age of 50. Even before releasing his debut album, he received many acclaimed reviews on his attempt to blend socially conscious lyrics with challenging harmonies, attractive melodies, and danceable grooves. Being influenced for many years by many styles and genres such as Gino Vannelli, Steely Dan, Incognito, Prince, Tower of Power, d’Z’s musical heart landed on the shores of Groove-Jazz City. Here he built -with the help of Katie Léone (The Brand New Heavies, Anastacia, Incognito) and 2 times Grammy Nominee Sandra St. Victor (Prince, The Family Stand, Chaka Khan), among others- his crib of sparkling and love giving music. With his socially conscious lyrics and groove-based songs, d’Z strongly feels the need to reach out, connect and -if only for a brief time- give people a place to feel love, hope, and lightness. d’Z’s much-anticipated album “Connected” is released June 2nd, 2018. With his often socially conscious lyrics and groove-based songs, d’Z feels the need to reach out, connect and – if only for a brief time – give people a place to feel love, hope, and lightness.
“The flow is incredible! Love the bass and harmonies in this one. Awesome! We receive a lot of great tracks and it is an honor to receive yours!”
– Unity Promotion Network
“Dazzling musical arrangements and a super-tight rhythm section.”
Tell us if you will change the style of your music to get signed.
I’m an indie artist by choice. So, no, I will not change my style to get signed. I’ve searched a long time to define my style (Melodic Groove Jazz-Funk) so I’ll stick with it. I know there’s a market for it. The only challenge is to find an audience who likes my kind of music. They’re the same people who like Chaka Khan, Stevie Wonder, Steely Dan, Tower of Power, Prince, Incognito to name a few. Once I’ve established my name, who needs a signed contract? Besides, a record company isn’t able to put the same effort into your music as you’re able to; they have so many artists to represent… Anyway, that’s all part of the old music industry. I’d rather be in the new one: managing my own music and style in as much freedom as possible! 😉
Elaborate on this song.
The song kicks off with an almost fusion-like intro with chords I played intuitively on my keyboard, years ago. The postponed chorus opens up the song being played in a major key (in contrast to the verses). I intended to make a joyful tune that builds and builds to a climax. I think we’ve managed to create an energizing and positive-sounding song. Thanks in no small measure to the wonderful Katie Léone!
Tell us if you have a guideline or standard set for your music production.
My guideline has some standards for sure! Being a professional drummer, I want the drums to sound as great as possible; if your drum sound is great, you’re halfway through the recording process. I’m always searching for the best vocalists for my tunes; after all, no matter how good the musicians play on your album, it’s the singer of the song who can make the difference. He or she has to be able to tell the story and touch people’s hearts. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some great musicians. They really let me shine. Maybe this is the essential standard: to surround yourself with people who are on the same level (or even can boost that level!) of playing.
Tell us your preparation for a live performance and how you make sure the quality of sound is high.
I always try to be prepared as good as possible. One of the most important things is staying focused on the job that has to be done. I believe that’s key to the quality of your performance. However, I’m not in control of the quality of sound; it depends a lot on the acoustics of the venues. That being said, it’s vital to adjust your loudness on stage depending on the stage you’re playing. Luckily I’m able to play both soft and loud when I’m behind the drums.
Discuss how to live healthy.
I drink a lot of water. And I mean A LOT! 😉 I also try to walk for at least four days a week into the forest near my house. It clears my head before I start my busy day!
Tell us if you are in control of your performance or you are still learning.
Being a professional drummer, I would say I’m in control of my instrument. However, that doesn’t mean I’m still learning by studying the drums as much as I can. Besides, it’s fun to improve your playing!
Tell us that precious moment you chose music as a career.
I can’t think of a precious moment since I know my entire life I wanted to be a drummer… There’s never been a question about wanting to do or be something different.
Tell us the greatest feedback you have ever received on a song of yours.
Since I’m a big fan of Gino Vannelli, this was a fantastic message that I received recently: “Not since Gino Vannelli (the early work) have I been blown away by such fine musicianship” And you know who wrote this? A former background singer from Mr. Vannelli. How cool is that?!
Tell us your side interest apart from music.
I am very interested in human nature, especially when it comes to our convictions/thoughts. I am convinced that our quality of life depends on our beliefs and perceptions on how to view the world around us. In a nutshell: is the glass half-full or half-empty? What if we could choose our experience? I believe we can. It’s no accident that I combine this message a lot with my music. I want to reach out by suggesting a different road to travel.
Tell us if you prefer singing as a solo artist to collaborating with others.
Well, I’m not a singer but I do prefer collaborating with others. My musical career depends on it! That’s why I am very thrilled to have worked with Katie Léone (Incognito, Chaka Khan, Anastacia, The Brand New Heavies) and Sandra St. Victor (Prince, The Family Stand, Bill Withers, Curtis Mayfield), among other great artists!
Tell us the artist that influenced you.
Gino Vannelli. Definitely. He is a great inspiration to me. As a matter of fact, I sent him a copy of my EP. To say thank you for all those years of beautiful music and performances. Other inspirations are Steely Dan, Snarky Puppy, Vulfpeck, Stevie Wonder, Richard Bona, Tower of Power. I could go on forever. So many fine artists have influenced me!
Tell us the full details of this song.
Lovin’ & Dancin’ is an invitation to live our lives to the fullest with the awareness that there’s love enough in this world. Let’s dance our way to happiness! As Katie sings: “Lovin’, dancin’, playin’, laughin’, life can be so good. Make love; your heart deeply wants to. It’s never too late.” The song has a positive message, I think. I hope people can relate to it.
Tell us the organization you will set up to fight a cause and state your reason for fighting the cause.
I can’t imagine setting up an organization! I believe in smaller things; live your life with love. Strive for happiness. That’s my focus: raising awareness of having a choice in what you like to experience in your life. My mission is to share my message by making and releasing songs.
Tell us your mood while performing.
When I perform, I’m in a happy mood. I can feel gratitude as well. Performing is a group effort, so it’s always fun playing with people who communicate in the same language.
Tell us the mistakes to avoid in the music business.
Don’t fall for big promises that are too good to be true! Stay on your path, follow your heart!