Alicia Olatuja — Timeless
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Album release: October 14, 2014
Record Label: World Tunes Records
01. Truth in Blue 8:14
02. Human Nature 4:57
03. Serrado (feat. Christian McBride) 4:51
04. Stay Gold (feat. Gregoire Maret) 6:10
05. Love Me Still 4:57
06. Speak the Words (feat. Christian McBride) 3:02
07. In the Dark 4:06
08. Somewhere Over the Rainbow (feat. Christian Sands) 5:18
09. The One (feat. Jaleel Shaw) 5:47
10. Amazing Grace 3:07
♣ Alicia Olatuja — Lead & background vocals
♣ Michael Olatuja — Acoustic & electric bass
♣ Jon Cowherd — Piano & organ
♣ Ulysses Owens Jr. — Drums & percussion
♣ David Rosenthal — Guitar
♣ Christian McBride — Acoustic bass (tracks 3 & 6)
♣ Gregoire Maret — Harmonica
♣ Christian Sands — Piano (track 8)
♣ Jaleel Shaw — Tenor sax
♣ Jason Michael Webb — Keyboards (tracks 1 & 2)
♣ Laurence Hobgood — Arrangements (tracks 4 & 5)
By Susan Francesny, BLOGCRITICS.ORG
Published 10:00 pm, Friday, September 19, 2014
♠ Passionate about opera and musical theater, vocalist Alicia Olatuja has a rich R&B/soul register that merges Natalie Cole's elegant style with Joss Stone's depth of range. Her latest offering Timeless is an assortment of classic pop tracks with sprigs of gospel, soul, and blues sewn into the fabric displaying Olatuja's pleasing tones prominently.
♠ Her solo with pianist Jon Cowherd on "Love Me Still" accentuates her soaring vocals. ♠ They are accompanied by her husband on bass, whose springy vaults shape the gentle flow of the rhythmic grooves in conjunction with drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr. Her duet with bassist Christian McBride on "Speak the Words" asserts her acute instinct to synchronize her vocals with the plucked beats of the acoustic bass demonstrating her natural grasp of harmony.
♠ She is joined by Cowherd once again on "In the Dark," producing soft R&B/soul treads that support her striking vocal arches beautifully. Her rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," made famous by Judy Garland, highlights the creamy timbres of her register then transitions into the R&B trimmings of "The One," featuring the steamy swells of tenor saxophonist Jaleel Shaw.
♠ Olatuja's soothing performance of "Amazing Grace" is powerful, evoking warm sensations in the listener. Her interpretation of Michael Jackson's popular tune "Human Nature" is tailored to the silky inflections of her vocals, and the cushiony texture of her voice in "Stay Gold" brings out the tranquilizing atmospherics of the instrumentation. Olatuja shows her depth of range in "Serrado" singing the lyrics in its native Spanish and moving in unison with the enchanting samba rhythm.
♠ Timeless is a sonically pleasing recording that will surely make audiences take notice of Alicia Olatuja. Her vocal tone has shades of blues, soul, and gospel with a pop edge. Elegantly delivered and vibrant in color, her voice has an eternal beauty that transcends the dividing lines made by generations and music genres. :: http://www.seattlepi.com/
♠ “Brooklyn gives birth to new musical star, singer Alicia Olatuja, at inauguration.” — The New York Daily News
♠ “Wow what a beautiful lyric I love this song.” — Dianne Reeves
♠ “Ms. Olatuja is an American singer with a strong, lustrous tone and an amiably regal presence onstage.” — The New York Times
♠ While the 2013 Presidential Inauguration ceremonies may have featured such A–list talent as Beyonce and Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson and Alicia Keys, it’s the voice of a classically trained mezzo–soprano who has drawn the most critical acclaim. On the edition of The View that aired the day after the inauguration, co–host Elizabeth Hasselbeck raved about Alicia Olatuja’s “breathtaking” voice...even though she admitted she didn’t know the singer’s name. However, it won’t be long before her name has much more of a familiar ring to it.
♠ In fact, the 30–year old Alicia Olatuja’s reputation has been growing since her arrival in New York in 2005. The New York Times praised her performance with her husband, bassist Michael Olatuja, in their band The Olatuja Project, lauding her “strong, lustrous tone.”
♠ Although Alicia’s solo ran for only one minute of the Choir’s nearly five minute long performance, it resulted in several radio interviews, magazine articles praising her performance, an appearance on WNBC New York’s The Debrief with David Ushery, and a feature in the New York Daily News, which began by stating, “Brooklyn gave birth to a new musical star at Monday’s inauguration.”
♠ Originally from St. Louis Missouri, Alicia Olatuja is a Vocal Performance graduate of the Manhattan School of Music Masters program. She made her recital debut at Carnegie Hall and her professional debut as Sacagawea in the World Premiere operetta Corps of Discovery at the Opera Memphis and has also performed selected scenes at Carnegie Hall and The Kennedy Center.
♠ In 2011, Alicia performed as Sophie in the world premier of the dramatic work by Tony–nominated composer Elizabeth Swados, "From the Fire," both in New York and when the play was presented at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh Scotland where it won awards for best score, best musical production, and most promising musical.
♠ Although musical theater and opera are two of Alicia’s passions, she also performs in a variety of other genres and has been creating quite a buzz in the jazz arena, receiving great praise from jazz giants such as Dianne Reeves and Monty Alexander. She often performs as a soloist with the Juilliard Jazz ensemble, and has sung with various recording artists such as Christian McBride, Chaka Khan and Bebe Winans. Alicia also regularly performs in various venues nationally and internationally with her husband in their African Jazz band, the Olatuja Project, where Alicia sings in various African dialects such as Yoruba and Shona. They recently released their debut album, The Promise.
♠ Alicia has sung with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir since 2007 and their single “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” was released on January 15 on iTunes, in advance of the April release of Love Lead the Way, the Choir’s 27th album. In addition, Alicia has recently completed her upcoming solo album, on which she is joined by such acclaimed jazz artists as 3–time Grammy© Award winner Christian McBride and husband Michael Olatuja (both on bass), Jon Cowherd and two–time Grammy© –nominee Christian Sands (both on piano), Grégoire Maret on harmonica, Ulysses Owens, Jr., on drums and David Rosenthal on guitar. The CD, titled Timeless, is slated for release on September 2nd this year, with the single, “In The Dark”, released in March.
♠ Alicia Olatuja is also a voice teacher, a vocal producer, and teaching artist for the Brooklyn Arts Council.
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