U.K. native Ella Mai, an R&B singer and songwriter with a casually commanding voice, wasn’t exactly an unknown artist before DJ Mustard signed her to his 10 Summers label. Originally raised in southwest London, Mai moved to New York at the age of 12, then returned to England after she graduated from high school. In 2014, during her second stint in the U.K., she competed on The X Factor as part of a trio, Arize, that didn’t advance beyond the initial audition for the judges. The group broke up shortly thereafter. The following year, Ella Mai uploaded a four-track solo EP of originals to SoundCloud, but it was through her short clips of covers on Instagram that DJ Mustard found her. In January 2016, the producer announced that he had signed her, and the following month, she released Time, a poised EP of sleek, contemporary R&B. Featuring the Ty Dolla $ign collaboration “She Don’t,” the six-track release introduced an artist who could sing of fierce loyalty and ruthless spite in an incisive manner. Mai quickly followed up with two more EPs beginning with Change, followed in early 2017 by Ready, which completed the DJ Mustard-produced trilogy. Ready highlight “Boo’d Up” cracked the Billboard Hot 100 in April 2018.
Genna & Jesse are defined by a unique alchemy born of the quirky chemistry, intricate vocal harmonies and ardent storytelling which infuse their songwriting and vibrant performances. With whispers (and sometimes roars) of folk, blue-eyed soul, jazz, blues, torch song, and popular music from the ‘60s and ‘70s, their self-chosen genre “Retro Soul Pop” doesn’t quite encompass what they conjure up in their joyful live shows and sensual, deliberate albums. These two shrug off music industry conventions in favor of doing what feels good and this genre-defying dedication to being current and free has an exciting and irresistible effect. Drawing inspiration from their romantic nomadic lifestyle, Genna & Jesse might best be described as modern troubadours, generously offering listeners glimpses of their always-moving world with something fresh, true and genuinely independent.
They are not content to perform only their own songs, however. With so much talent flying under the commercial radar, Genna and Jesse actively seek out and perform songs by lesser-known artists whom they meet in their travels and collaborations. Their evocative performances of these tunes provide a springboard for connecting community – artists and audiences. Every show is different because they are not content to sit in their comfort zone. They stretch their creative boundaries, finding (and constantly creating) new music and playing with it.
Genna and Jesse began performing together in 2009 when Genna hired Jesse to play piano in her San Francisco soul-punk band “Fiction Like Candy”. While working together, a romantic union blossomed and the two decided to write and perform as a duo.
Genna Giacobassi is originally from Lansing, MI. Her parents are both musicians and she grew up surrounded by, and immersed in, music. Inspired by her love of musical theater, jazz, and Motown, she attended Interlochen Arts Academy High School, where she studied voice. A rebellious spirit, she put aside a future in performing the works of others in order to obey her internal muse. In 1995, still a teenager, she dropped out of school and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to hone her performance and songwriting skills. Her soulful voice is at once easygoing and acrobatic, with hints of Billie Holiday, Rickie Lee Jones, Norah Jones, Bonnie Raitt and Joni Mitchell.
Jesse Dyen has a colorful musical history — he has drawn praise for his anti-war anthem “Sons and Daughters,” from Willie Nelson, bought beer for Joe Strummer, broken Joan Baez’s guitar string, and been to jail with Daniel Ellsberg. Jesse has self-produced hundreds of tracks and has appeared in projects in the U.S., Europe and Africa. His album “Contents Under Pressure,” recorded in his hometown Philadelphia and featuring some of Philly’s finest musicians, has received radio airplay both domestically and internationally, and was recorded by producer/drummer Andy Kravitz, who also engineered and produced a number of tracks on the duo’s 2016 release, “Asphalt Rhapsody.”
Genna & Jesse have been living the gypsy lifestyle for over six years, and are currently on an international perma-tour, promoting the “Asphalt Rhapsody” album. In November of 2018, they will be celebrating the release of their long-awaited studio album, “Say OK.” Their tour, which includes club venues, house concerts, restaurants, cafes, and festivals, is being done with as small a carbon footprint as possible.
State your reason for choosing music as a career.
Music is what we’re best at. It’s what we’re passionate about. We’ve both had day jobs in the past, and although there was more stability, it didn’t make us happy. As touring musicians and recording artists, we’ve finally committed to doing what makes us tick, and we put a high value on that.
Tell us how you write the lyrics to your song.
“Two Dimes” was written during … in residence stint in South Bend, Indiana. During residencies, we like to write music that is inspired by the community we’re in; by its history or by experiences we have while visiting. In this case, we wanted to write a song that was inspired by the history of this town as seen through the eyes of some downs and outs. This song is unique in that it was written in collaboration with some South Bend songwriters (Abby and Kevin Joiner) and the process was totally collaborative. We just threw ideas out and pieced it all together like a puzzle. If you’re asking about how we write lyrics in general, that’s a bit more complicated. We both write lyrics and music, and often one of us takes the lead on a given song. Then, the other comes in and offers edits, new ideas, or just cleans it up. It’s really satisfying to collaborate in this way.
Share your press release and reviews with us.
“Literate, grownup, soulful pop… [Genna & Jesse] combine folk and jazz with a classic pop bent, and the results are…incredibly catchy, with melodies and hooks that’ll make pop cynics smile, and have fans of grown up radio reaching for the volume dial.”
– Leicester Bangs, UK
Rave reviews for Genna & Jesse
“With an old soul steeped in jazz and folk, Giacobassi’s velvety vocals coast across piano keys on ballads like ‘Don’t Be Surprised.’ Dyen boasts a storyteller’s intonation; when the two join in harmony, it’s like earth meeting fire.”
– Savannah Connect
“[Genna & Jesse’s] performances are tailored towards an intimate audience, demanding attention through intrigue rather than volume. Routine and monotony are challenges not faced by this pair, or by their music…Each song comes from a different place, both musically and lyrically.”
– Carousel Magazine
“Simply impressive…They offered us one wonderful, very emotional show.”
– Tried & True Magazine, Germany
“…incredibly catchy, with melodies and hooks that’ll make pop cynics smile, and have fans of grown-up radio reaching for the volume dial.”
– Leicester Bangs Music Magazine
“You will laugh, you will cry, you will connect, you will involuntarily dance in your chair… Genna and Jesse are mind-blowing, warm, passionate, energetic, engaging and uber talented craftsmen of songs…”
– Brian McCloskey, Folk at Foul Rift
“It’s a rare thing to see this kind of band, this kind of singer, before they’re famous. If you get a chance to see Genna & Jesse, do so. They are remarkable.”
– Christopher Garlington, Chicago Editorial Columnist, Author, Humorist
★★★★★ Genna & Jesse’s “Give and Take,”
NBT Music Radio’s best album of 2013!
“[Give and Take] is a very diverse record that offers something for everyone.”
– Strutter Magazine
“…The 9 self-penned songs on this sweet and soft record can certainly be regarded as beautiful results of [Genna & Jesse’s] creative and spiritual collaboration.”
– Rootstime Magazine
In 2016, Retro Soul Pop duo Genna & Jesse released their third album, “Asphalt Rhapsody.” An international tour to promote the album kicked off shortly after the release. With richer production and strong pop elements, this work is a surprising departure from their folkier debut album “Give and Take,” and their live sophomore release “Wild Enough to Try”. Genna & Jesse, who live nomadically, recorded this album over the span of several years. The duo cut tracks in over a dozen locations, with guest musicians including Klaus Fluoride (Dead Kennedys), Roger Rocha (4 Non Blondes), David Hood (Aretha Franklin, Percy Sledge, Gregg Allman), Will McFarlane (Bonnie Raitt, Etta James) and Andy Kravitz (Taj Mahal, Joan Osborne).
“Asphalt Rhapsody” embodies the duo’s love for experimenting in the studio, and is touched with whispers (and sometimes roars) of folk, blue-eyed soul, jazz, blues, country, and popular music from the ‘60s and ‘70s. Although the music is more produced than previous works, it still captures the unique alchemy and quirky chemistry that define the duo. Fans of their intricate vocal harmonies and ardent storytelling will find plenty to be excited about. With this new album, the modern troubadours offer listeners glimpses of their always-moving world with something fresh, true and genuinely independent. The “Asphalt Rhapsody” Tour features intimate performances at clubs, small theaters, cafes, house concerts and festivals, and is done with as small a carbon footprint as possible. Many of the tracks on “Asphalt Rhapsody,” including the desert-inspired love song “Tumbleweed and Tonic,” have already received extensive radio play in the U.S. and Europe.
“Pop/folk duo Genna & Jesse come out with joy, soul, and a little bit of edge in their new track ‘Tumbleweed and Tonic.’ It’s a fun, light, friendly song that showcases Genna’s beautiful, haunting, crystal-clear vocals, and great production coming from Jesse.”
(Music Worth Reviewing)
“For those who like their pop with a little more depth and sincerity, delivered with charm and just the right amount of sassy attitude…Genna & Jesse are definitely a duo to look out for.”
We’re nomads, so life is a lot about travel and experiencing new things. We’re also married, so we get to do this traveling as a couple, which is cool. We enjoy checking out the places we’re visiting, going to museums or other cultural sites, tuning into the local music scene, being out in nature (hiking, kayaking, etc.) and generally having adventures. We also like connecting with friends wherever we are, and now our friend pool spans the US and about a dozen European countries. We’re both foodies, so we enjoy experiencing culture through the cuisine of the place we’re in. We spend a lot of time in the car. We talk a lot, listen to podcasts, and the passenger (usually Genna) reads books aloud. We just finished Chrissie Hynde’s autobiography.
Discuss your music career.
We both have had interesting music careers since the early 90s, but they were totally separate until about 8 years ago, when we were playing together in the soul punk band “Fiction Like Candy”. That was in San Francisco. We started working as a duo after that band split, and in 2012 decided to do it full time. In the last 6 years we’ve released 3 albums (soon to be 4), played concerts all over the US, Canada and in about a dozen European countries, and in that time never had a home of our own – the nomad life suits us. What we’ve done with our career is an example of how persistence and thinking outside the box can create a successful career in a world where the music biz is totally unreliable. We’re self-made and our operation is done totally independently. And we’ve found a way to make it work! In spite of the image that “nomad” might conjure, we live a very good life. We never want for anything and have rich experiences daily. People forget that superstardom isn’t the only route, and in fact may not be the ideal route. We’re doing what we love, our career is growing (especially in Europe), we’re respected by those whose opinions we care about, and we have an awesome quality of life. We hope that other artists can be inspired by the way in which we’ve gone about making our dreams come true.
Elaborate on your artist’s name.
Ha! That’s easy. We spent all of about five minutes trying to think of something clever (every band’s nightmare?) and quickly decided to keep it simple and just use our names.
Tell us your source of inspiration.
Travel, experience, social justice, love, spirituality, tragedy, joy.
Tell us your impression on dealing with paparazzi.
Our impression is that it sounds like it sucks and we hope we never have to deal with that.
Elaborate on the recording of this song.
This song was recorded in Nashville with some of the finest musicians ever. Steve Mackey on bass, Lindsay Jamieson on drums, Barry Green on trombone, Steve Patrick on trumpet, and we flew in Genna’s dad Dan Giacobassi to play sax. We cut the song really quickly. It’s a duet, and we both sang live in the room together, then overdubbed backing vocals later. It was smooth and fun. Our producer, Jacob Lawson, knows how to get the best out of players and create an inspired and relaxed recording environment.
Tell us your future projects.
Unknown! We’re always writing new material and love making albums, so there’s always a new record on the horizon. We’re looking forward to relocating to Europe (we’ll still play concerts in the US) and so that’s a big project, though not necessarily an overtly artistic one. We’re releasing ‘Say OK’ soon, and so there will be some videos created to go along with that, and we’re also releasing an accompanying songbook so people can learn the tunes themselves. We’re also doing some ongoing philanthropic work, teaching songwriting to inner city kids.
List the names of those that have supported you so far.
That list would be nearly endless. Friends, family, other musicians, reviewers, critics, fans…
Tell us your point of view on vocal tuning.
Our point of view is, basically, don’t do it. Stylistically it’s become a thing, and we are not fans of that. It sucks the soul and earth out of the music. Everybody’s a robot now. That said, auto tuning can be used skillfully and when it is, you don’t even know it’s there. On rare occasions, there’s a performance that’s just so good – catching just the right vibe and energy and style – but there is a note that’s slightly out of tune. In those rare cases, we’re ok with the producer using a little bit of magic to clean it up. But in our world, it’s better to just totally nail the part when we sing it. It’s so satisfying to sing the vocal in the studio and be right on point. But also, part of the beauty of music (to our minds) is that it’s human, and little imperfections are sometimes just what the song needs. Our musical ethic is that the purer it is the better. By the way, that’s why our albums match up to our live shows. We’re not that band that has a killer record and then you see them live and they can’t pull it off. (How many times have you heard a singer live who just can’t hit the notes?) Most people actually enjoy our live shows just as much or more than our records, and it’s because we know how to be just as good, live as we are in the studio. So… if you’ve got the vocal chops, there’s no need for tricks in the studio. And if you don’t have the chops… maybe you’re not a singer!
Tell us your thought on quality and quantity for the release of songs.
We are always focused on quality over quantity. Could we write and release a song a day if we wanted to? Sure. There’s no need for that, though. We feel like releasing a really great album every other year is the sweet spot.
Tell us your viewpoint on comparing music career to non-music career.
We’ve done both, and a career in music is our preference. That’s a totally personal choice though. Not all musicians are happy with a career in music, and not all people with careers in music are true musicians! We’ve got tons of super talented musician friends who ended up deciding that they needed the security that a music career can’t reliably provide. We respect that. There are all kinds of ways to be a musician.
Tell us your opinion on categorizing music into genres and sub-genres.
We understand the necessity of creating genres and sub-genres, but it can be difficult to navigate when you are an eclectic act. So it’s sort of a headache for us, especially when we’re dealing with platforms that only give us a handful of choices as to genre. We’d rather people just listen and then make up their minds about what it is we’re doing.
State the title of the song and the meaning.
“Two Dimes” is sung from the perspective of a down and out couple in South Bend, Indiana, in the 1960s. They work hard all week to save enough money to buy records and hit the town together on the weekend. The title is a playful take on the saying, “Don’t have two dimes to rub together.” It’s an American phrase meaning that you ain’t got no money. So… neither of them have two dimes to rub together. But she’s got one dime, he’s got one dime… maybe they can rub their dimes together. Wink wink. It’s kinda silly but also sweet and a bit sexy. We can all relate to this universal need to have fun and let loose after a hard work week, and to doing whatever we need to do in order to make that happen, whether we’ve got some dollars in our pocket or we’re flat broke.
State the title of the album and the reason for choosing the title.
The album is titled “Say OK,” which is also the title of one of the tracks on the album, a little love song. I guess it’s appropriate because the song on which the album title is based is about a couple who adventures together – that’s us. But there are several levels of meaning. We’ve found that saying “yes” is sort of an operating principle within our lives. We say yes to people, to experiences, to places… we say yes to our big ideas, even if they’re crazy. We give ourselves permission to want things and to fulfill those wants. Nothing is off the table… It’s a good way to live. There’s also another element to this, which is that with this album we are launching our “Say OK community project,” wherein we bring music to kids in challenging economic situations. We actually launched this project in the springtime, and it’s been really successful so far. The underlying concept is that we all need to be saying OK to kids – championing their creativity, their brilliance, their voice. Kids have something to say, something to give, and we want to help them express themselves and to be heard.
Acclaimed country music star Adam Harvey has released his new album, ‘The Nashville Tapes’.
Multiple Aria Award nominee and 8 time Golden Guitar winner Adam Harvey is one of Australia’s most popular and enduring country stars with a career spanning over two decades. Encapsulating over half a million sales, Gold and Platinum albums, this release follows the success of his most recent albums Harvey’s Backyard Bar, The Great Country Songbook Volume II and Family Life.
Fulfilling a lifelong dream, Adam jetted off to the bright lights of the immortal Music City to record masterful 10th studio album ‘The Nashville Tapes’ with producer Nash Chambers, armed with a brace of new songs couched in the classic country sounds that most capture his imagination.
“It’s one of those things that’s been on my bucket list for probably 20-odd years, to actually go and record an album over there in Nashville,” Harvey says of the inspiration behind ‘The Nashville Tapes’.
“I thought I want to make a 70’s country album: that’s my favourite era in country music. While everybody else is heading further and further away from classic country music, it’s a good step for me to not only follow my passion and my heart, but also to go the other way!”
The beating heart of ‘The Nashville Tapes’ is the anthemic first single ‘I’d Rather Be a Highwayman’, a careworn barroom sway coloured with intoxicating piano and cowboy drums, which transitions into a stirring dedication to the immortal flame of classic country.
‘Nothin makes me give a damn more than country can, I’d rather be a Highwayman than a Rolling Stone,’ sings Harvey.
‘The Nashville Tapes’ is yet another career-best album for Adam Harvey. A deeply personal, powerfully reverent release not years but decades in the making, The Nashville Tapes is the masterwork of an all-time Australian country music legend.
Harvey and is band will take ‘The Nashville Tapes’ on the road in the coming months, with support from The Voice Australia 2017 winner, Judah Kelly. Concertgoers can expect everything Australia has come to love about Adam Harvey’s incomparable live show: a rousing mix of new songs, established hits and live favourites, and a smattering of evergreen country classics – along with liberal doses of Harvey’s trademark yarns, droll one-liners, and generous good humour.
“Cigarettes and Beer, was one of the first songs I have written. A friend mentioned they just sat on the couch smoking cigarettes and drinking beer. As soon as I heard it, the song popped into my head.”
Amelia Monét releases debut single ‘Baddest’ featuring EO. The track which premiered on GRM Daily continues to grow after gaining over 1.4 million views in a week. Joining forces with EO who burst on to the scene earlier this year with his hit single ‘German’ which peaked at #13 in a 9 week run in the Official Charts Top 20. Amelia Monét and EO join forces with the hottest production duo Da Beatfreakz (Giggs, Mr Eazi) to create the ‘Baddest’!
Amelia Monét is not new to the world of showbiz having starred as the longest running Nala in the Lion King, gaining praise from the likes of The Arts Desk for her “magnificent” performances. The young star is also known for her quirky, girl-next-door personality which has gained her a following of over 57 thousand YouTube subscribers and over 237k Instagram followers. The North Londoner begins her journey as a singer, stay tuned for more music.
Any serious list of highly influential keyboardists in the soul/pop/funk field would have to include the Isley Brothers’ Chris Jasper. Jasper can be heard laying down adept acoustic piano, organ, funky clavinet, and Moog/Arp synthesizer lines on such seminal ’70s hits as ‘Who’s That Lady’, ‘Fight the Power’, ‘For the Love of You’ (covered by Whitney Houston on her multi-platinum Whitney album), and ‘Who Loves You Better’ over a catalog that includes 11 gold and four platinum albums. Most are still in print.
In January 1992, Jasper, along with the rest of the Isley Brothers, was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. At an early age, Jasper began tickling the ivories. At age eight, his mother encouraged him to take piano lessons after she heard him play Motown tunes by ear. After high school, he went to study to study at Julliard. The Isley Brothers and Jasper grew up on the same block in their native Cincinnati. In 1959, the group scored their first big hit, ‘Shout’, later covered by the Beatles, and moved to New York. More hits followed, including ‘Twist and Shout’ and ‘This Ol’ Heart of Mine’ on Motown.
While visiting a sister who lived east, Jasper struck up a friendship with one of the younger Isleys, Ernie. Every summer he and Jasper would get together and jam. Ernie started on drums before moving to guitar. Another young Isley, Marvin, would bring along his bass and joined the duo. The teenagers patterned themselves after the Young-Holt Unlimited and covered jazz, pop, and Motown. While they’d be rehearsing, the other Isleys would walk through and suggest they’d go into the studio. They cut some demo tracks with Ronald Isley singing lead.
In 1969, the Isleys got a manufacturing and distribution (custom label) deal with Epic Records. The ‘It’s Your Thing’ album was the first release on T-Neck (a moniker derived from their home base of Teaneck, NJ). Jasper, as principal songwriter/ keyboardist, guitarist/drummer Ernie, and bassist Marvin came aboard the following year. The new expanded group’s premier project was the ‘Giving It Back’ album that featured a smoking version of Stephen Stills’ ‘Love the One You’re With’. The winning combination worked for the next 13 years and included such albums as ‘3 + 3’, ‘Who’s That Lady’, a sanguine cover of Seals & Crofts’ ‘Summer Breeze’, ‘If You Were There’ (covered by Wham on Make It Big), ‘Live It Up’, ‘The Heat Is On’, ‘Harvest for the World’, the double-album ‘Winner Take All’, ‘Go for Your Guns’, and ‘Showdown’. During this time, Jasper had an opportunity to work with synthesizer pioneer Malcolm Cecil, who was a key influence through Stevie Wonder and his innovative album, ‘Music of My Mind’.
In 1984, the group split and Jasper and the younger Isleys, Ernie and Marvin, formed Isley/Jasper/Isley with their first release, ‘Broadway’s Next to Sunset Boulevard’. The next album, ‘Caravan of Love’, featured the number one out-of-the-box title hit that enjoyed airplay on pop, urban, and gospel stations and was covered by the English group the Housemartins, taking the tune to number one international pop status. The final Isley/Jasper/Isley album was ‘Different Drummer’, and after the group disbanded, Jasper formed Gold City Records distributed by CBS.
‘Superbad’ – not the James Brown standard – was the title of and the first single from Jasper’s first solo album, topping the urban charts. The next album, ‘Time Bomb’, included the hit ballad ‘The First Time’. He also had success with singer Liz Hogue who charted with ‘Dream Lover’ from the Vicious & Fresh album and Chaka Khan’s ‘Make It Last’ from her CK album. Taking Gold City independent, Jasper released ‘Praise the Eternal’, a sparking collection of contemporary gospel music and a self-titled debut by contemporary gospel trio Outfront.
‘Deep Inside’ marks Jasper’s return to R&B/pop music. A collection that includes the best of the old and the new. Against sheen ’90s FM digital synth patches, you hear classic talk box generated vocoder lines and squishy Moog bass. There’s a strong Marvin Gaye influence and in homage, Jasper updates ‘What’s Going On’.
There has been a flood of Isley Brothers covers. The lion’s share of which is done by rappers. Hip-hop has been good to Jasper’s song catalog. Rapper/Sony artist Da Brat had a Top Five Billboard Hot 100 hit with ‘Funkadafied’, which includes a sample from the Isleys’ ‘Between the Sheets’ (from the album of the same name). Ice Cube used ‘Footsteps in ihe Dark’ (from Go for Your Guns) as the basis for his hit ‘It’s been a Good Day’. Hornman Gene Dunlap covered ‘Groove With You’ (from Showdown). R. Kelly (whose productions carry Jasper-influenced lead line and patches) produced a hit cover of ‘At Your Best You Are Love’ (from Harvest for the World) by singer Aaliyah. ~ Ed Hogan
If you are familiar with THE ISLEY BROTHERS, then you know Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, CHRIS JASPER, an integral member of THE ISLEY BROTHERS during the 1970s and 1980s—their gold and platinum years—from the ‘3+3’ (1973) to ‘Between the Sheets’ (1983) albums. These were the years when THE ISLEY BROTHERS were a self-produced, self-contained group.
If you are familiar with THE ISLEY BROTHERS, then you have heard the music of CHRIS JASPER, who was primarily responsible for writing, arranging and producing all of THE ISLEY BROTHERS music during this time, including such beautiful love songs as ‘For The Love of You’ and ‘Between the Sheets’ and uptempo funk such as ‘Fight the Power’. His arrangements and instrumentation as a classically-trained musician, and his expertise on the keyboards and synthesizers, are the foundation of the legendary “Isley Brothers Sound.” When the six members of THE ISLEY BROTHERS disbanded (1984), Marvin and Ernie Isley joined CHRIS JASPER and formed ISLEY-JASPER-ISLEY. Without this crucial musical component, THE ISLEY BROTHERS were no longer a self-produced, self-contained group.
CHRIS JASPER brought his “unique sound” and musical talents to ISLEY-JASPER-ISLEY, and topped the charts singing lead vocals on ‘Caravan of Love’ (1985), a song that was covered by English recording group, the Housemartins, an international #1 pop hit. ‘Caravan’ was also used in commercials as part of a Dodge Caravan advertising campaign. He was also awarded a CEBA Award For Excellence for a Miller Brewing Company commercial. The music for that commercial formed the basis for ‘Brother to Brother’ from the ‘Different Drummer’ album, which supported the anti-apartheid struggle going on in South Africa at that time. His music has also been used in radio and television commercials, including ‘Who’s That Lady’ (Swiffer) and ‘Between The Sheets’ (L’Oreal).
When ISLEY-JASPER-ISLEY disbanded (1987), CHRIS JASPER brought his “unique sound” to his own solo projects, topping the charts with ‘SuperBad’, a song promoting the value of education. CHRIS JASPER has continued to write songs and produce his own R&B and Gospel music, as well as other artists, for his independent record label, Gold City Records.
CHRIS JASPER’s music has been covered and sampled by hundreds of new and established recording artists, including Whitney Houston, Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, Gwen Stefani, Fantasia, Will Smith, Aaliyah, Queen Latifah, Notorious B.I.G., Tupac, Natalie Cole, Jaheim, Kendrick Lamar, and the list goes on and on. His music has also been used in many movie and television soundtracks.
In 1992, CHRIS JASPER, along with the other members of THE ISLEY BROTHERS, was inducted into the ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME and in 2014, received a GRAMMY LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD. In 2015, CHRIS JASPER received the German Record Critics Lifetime Achievement Award (“Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik”). In 2016, Chris was awarded the National R&B Society Lifetime Achievement Award. Chris is also a recipient of the BRE Lifetime Achievement Award and numerous ASCAP awards.
BACKGROUND AND EDUCATION
Chris Jasper was born in Cincinnati, Ohio on December 30, 1951, the youngest of seven siblings. While growing up in Cincinnati, Chris studied classical piano starting at the age of 7 years old. After graduating from high school in Cincinnati, he moved to New York to study music composition at the Juilliard School of Music.
Chris received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in music composition from C.W. Post College in New York, where he studied under noted jazz pianist and composer, Dr. Billy Taylor. He subsequently received a Juris Doctorate degree from Concord University School of Law.
THE JASPER/ISLEY CONNECTION
The Jasper and Isley families lived in the same apartment complex in Cincinnati, Ohio. Chris’s older sister, Elaine, married Rudolph Isley. The three older Isley brothers, Rudolph, O’Kelly and Ronald, formed a vocal trio (“The Isley Brothers”) and relocated to Teaneck, New Jersey.
While temporarily living in New Jersey as a teenager, Chris and the two younger Isley brothers, Marvin and Ernie, formed a band, “The Jazzmen Trio” that played locally in New Jersey. Chris played keyboards, Ernie played drums and Marvin played the bass. Along with Chris, Ernie and Marvin also attended C.W. Post College in New York. While in college, Chris, Marvin and Ernie played on the older Isley Brothers recordings, including ‘It’s Your Thing’.
THE ISLEY BROTHERS YEARS
In 1973, Chris, Marvin and Ernie brought the songwriting and musical component to the older brothers vocal trio, making The Isley Brothers, a self-produced, self-contained six-member group. Their debut release as a 6-member band on their CBS-associated label was the ‘3+3’ album.
Although all 6 members of the Isley Brothers are credited as songwriters on the music from this era, this was a business arrangement and does not reflect the creative reality. Chris was the primary songwriter/musician, producer and arranger of The Isley Brothers music from 1973 (‘3+3’) through 1983 (‘Between the Sheets’), with contributions by younger members Ernie and Marvin Isley. Chris’s arrangements and instrumentation as a classically-trained musician, and his expertise on the keyboards, synthesizers and other instruments, have been credited as the foundation of the legendary “Isley Brothers Sound.” In 1984, the 6-member group disbanded due to internal problems.
In 1984, Chris, Marvin and Ernie formed Isley-Jasper-Isley, a self-produced, self-contained trio, with Chris as the lead singer of the group, continuing his role as the primary songwriter/ musician, producer and arranger. Isley-Jasper-Isley recorded 3 albums on their CBS-associated label, and earned recognition with their #1 hit, ‘Caravan of Love’. ‘Caravan’ was covered by English recording group, the Housemartins, who made the song an international #1 hit.
In 1987, Isley-Jasper-Isley disbanded and Chris embarked on a solo career. Chris formed his record label, Gold City Records, and released two albums as a CBS-associated label. His debut single, ‘Superbad’ reached #1 on the R&B charts. Eventually, Marvin and Ernie returned to record under the Isley Brothers group name, and Chris continued his solo career, releasing a total of 15 solo albums to date, including 4 urban contemporary gospel CDs.
Chris has also produced a number of artists for his Gold City label, and has worked with such notable artists as Chaka Khan, writing and producing a song for her CK album (‘Make It Last’). Chris’s music has been covered and sampled by numerous new and established recording artists, including Whitney Houston, Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, Gwen Stefani, Fantasia, Will Smith, Aaliyah, Queen Latifah, Notorious B.I.G., Tupac, Natalie Cole, Jaheim, Kendrick Lamar, and the list goes on and on.
Chris works closely with his 24-year old son, Michael Jasper, who released his debut album ‘Addictive’ on the Gold City label at the age of 16 in 2010. ‘Addictive’ was written and recorded by Michael, and co-produced by Chris. Michael’s recently released ‘Make It’ from his forthcoming CD ‘Dreams’ which is scheduled for release in 2018. Chris and Michael are currently working on a film score for an original screenplay by Michael Jasper.
Chris has received numerous gold and platinum albums and music industry awards, including the BET lifetime achievement award and many ASCAP awards for his songwriting. In 1992, Chris, along with the other members of The Isley Brothers, was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and in 2014 received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2015, Chris received the German Record Critics Lifetime Achievement Award (“Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik”). In 2016, Chris was awarded the National R&B Society Lifetime Achievement Award.
Chris and his wife of 35 years, Margie, live in New York.
ISLEY BROTHERS YEARS
3+3 (CBS) 1973
Live It Up (CBS) 1974
The Heat Is On (CBS) 1975
Harvest For The World (CBS) 1976
Go For Your Guns (CBS) 1977
Showdown (CBS) 1978
Winner Takes All (CBS) 1979
Go All The Way (CBS) 1980
Grand Slam (CBS) 1981
Inside You (CBS) 1981
The Real Deal (CBS) 1982
Between The Sheets (CBS) 1983
Broadway’s Closer to Sunset Boulevard (CBS) 1984
Caravan of Love (CBS) 1985
Different Drummer (CBS) 1986
Superbad (Gold City/CBS Associated) 1988
Time Bomb (Gold City/CBS Associated) 1989
Praise the Eternal (Gold City) 1992
Deep Inside (Gold City) 1994
Faithful & True (Gold City) 2002
Best of Chris Jasper…With Love (Gold City) 2003
Amazing Love (Gold City) 2005
Invincible (Gold City) 2007
Everything I Do (Gold City) 2010
Inspired (Gold City) 2013
Thank You Jesus (Gold City) 2014
The One (Gold City) 2014
The Essential Chris Jasper (Gold City/Sony Legacy) 2015
Share With Me (Gold City) 2016
Dance With You (Gold City) (July 2018)
Former Isley Brother CHRIS JASPER brings back Soulful R&B and Funk with “DANCE WITH YOU”
New Music from Former Isley Brother, Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee CHRIS JASPER
CHRIS JASPER brings back SOULFUL R&B and FUNK with his new CD Release “DANCE WITH YOU” … the JULY ALBUM OF THE MONTH on Soultracks:
“DANCE WITH YOU” includes 10 tracks of ballads, funk and mid-tempo dance tracks along with positive uplifting messages … it’s just what you would expect from Chris Jasper!
The title track ‘Dance With You’, ‘Sweet Margie’, and ‘The Love That You Give’ are classic R&B tracks featuring Chris Jasper’s familiar keyboard work and sweet vocal harmony arrangements.
‘Show Somebody Love’ is a standout track with its universal message of love and unity and a call to come together with that common bond we all have…Love!
Chris Jasper’s vocals, arrangement and orchestration on the classic Aerosmith track ‘I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing’ brings that song to a new level and a new audience.
‘It’s a Miracle’ contains a spiritually uplifting message with a mid-tempo classic R&B stepper’s groove.
‘Make Your Move’ continues that bass pumping and keyboard driven funk that Chris Jasper was known for writing and producing when he was with the Isley Brothers like ‘Fight the Power’ and ‘The Pride’.
‘Happy Birthday Love’ contains a sweet soulful birthday message for the one you love!
‘I Love You’ and ‘That’s What Love Can Do’ are club remixes that will keep people on the dance floor!
With the release of ‘Dance With You’, Chris Jasper continues his familiar and award-winning musical style…reminiscent of the music he wrote and produced for the Isley Brothers, Isley-Jasper-Isley and his solo music.
‘Dance With You’ is Chris Jasper’s 15th Solo Album since his time as a member of the Isley Brothers (1973-1983) when Chris was primarily responsible for writing, arranging and producing the Isley Brothers music during their “gold and platinum” years, as well as being the primary writer/arranger/producer of the music for his spinoff group, Isley-Jasper-Isley (1984-1987), before embarking on his solo career and starting his independent label, Gold City Records.
Chris Jasper’s arrangements and instrumentation as a classically-trained musician, and his expertise on the keyboards and synthesizers, have been called the foundation of the legendary “Isley Brothers Sound.”
Born in the West Sussex town of Chichester, British singer/songwriter Tom Odell spent his formative years studying at the Brighton Institute of Modern Music. Raised on a steady diet of Elton John, Leonard Cohen, and Bob Dylan, Odell’s songs are emotional, raw, and hushed affairs that have drawn comparisons to Jeff Buckley. In 2012, after landing a record deal with Columbia Records, the then-21-year-old released his debut EP, Songs from Another Love, made his television debut on Later… with Jools Holland, and was nominated for and won in the Critics’ Choice category of that year’s BRIT Awards. He released his first full-length studio album, Long Way Down, in 2013. The platinum-selling album was a huge success, having gone straight in at number one on the U.K. charts, and Odell spent much of the following couple of years touring the material relentlessly, supporting huge names such as Elton John, Billy Joel, and the Rolling Stones along the way. Odell soon sought refuge from the limelight, and found it in the shape of a small apartment in New York’s East Village. It was there that he found the time to begin working on his follow-up, 2016’s Wrong Crowd.
After a European tour in 2014, and after scooping an Ivor Novello award for Songwriter of the Year, Odell again relocated, this time to Los Angeles. Here the album began to take shape with the help of producer Jim Abbiss, best known for his work with Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian, and Adele, among others. Ever the avid film buff, Wrong Crowd was accompanied by a collection of films that followed the narrative of the album. Scripted by Odell and with the help of director George Belfield, the films explored themes of isolation and innocence, having drawn inspiration from the greats such as Wenders, Malick, and Fellini during his time spent under the radar in New York. ~ James Christopher Monger