Saturday, 14 February 2009 07:49 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF


NORMAN CONNORS' 'Star Power' album is one of the first big indie soul releases of 2009 and one track in particular is proving that real soul music is still alive and well. The cut in question is 'Where Do We Go From Here' - a shimmering duet between HOWARD HEWETT and the song's writer, ANTOINETTE MANGANAS. CONNORS was so impressed with ANTOINETTE'S performance that he recorded her on two other key tracks - covers of 'Walk On By' and 'Sweetest Taboo'. Now residing in Pittsburgh, Ms MANGANAS also has her own album out. Called 'Verbal Crush', the 12 tracker is a relaxing mix of modern soul and smooth jazz with that man CONNORS taking production responsibilities on three of the selections. The album's so impressive tracked ANTOINETTE down to find out more about her album and aspirations. We began by asking about her musical background…..

I wanted to be a singer since I was a child. I came from a musical background. My father, Reolando Nunzio Conte was a singer and played every instrument from the clarinet, to sax, to guitar and banjo. My mother would accompany him as a vocalist. They were also very "old school", being that my father was born in Belmont, Calabria, Italy and my mom in Buenos Aires, Argentina. They had many plans for me but singing and being a performer was not one of them. They had that "old school" mentality where you get married and raise your children and the man provided. That being said, it never hindered who I was or my love for music and performing. In my home we had all kinds of sounds going on from all different rooms. My father was a barber (at home) and he listened to Gladys Knight, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Carlo Butti, Lena Horne, Elvis, Tammy Wynette, George Jones, and Rod Stewart. My brother listened to the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Hall and Oates. My sister listened to Chicago, Anne Murray, Donna Summer, Peter Frampton and I listened to Chaka Khan, Frankie Beverley and Maze, Earth Wind and Fire, Shalamar, Michael Henderson, Nancy Wilson, Michael Jackson and Sade.

How did you get involved in the Norman Connors 'Star Power' project?

I met some people that came to see me perform here in Pittsburgh. They contacted these friends of theirs from Atlanta where I was later on introduced to Norman. That is how I came to meet him, Bobby Lyle, Herman Jackson, Donald Tavie, Johnny Britt and Howard Hewett…and the rest was "Magic"!

Why did Norman choose your song 'Where Do We Go From Here'?

As soon as Norman heard my song, he LOVED it from the start! Then, he asked Howard Hewett to sing the male part 'cos he knew that Howard and I would make a great mix! He said that our vocals complimented each other's.

What was it like to work with an established star like Howard Hewett?

I was first introduced to Howard at a restaurant in LA. We got along right from the start. He even ate my food! I don't let anyone eat my food! I must have liked him! We had such a musical chemistry …and a personal one…I felt like I grew up with him and was reuniting with my high school buddy again! He is so cool! I am his soul sister and he's my soul brother! I LOVED it because he knew exactly what to do on this song…..Very professional…..and he has a smile that is infectious!

Why do you think Norman choose you to take lead vocals on two other tracks…. Do you think he was having a 'Phyllis Hyman moment'?

I truly believe in my heart that these tracks were "Special" to him and he was looking for the singer with a certain tone in her voice, a kind of sultriness and the right amount of soul to pull them off! At one point when we were in the studio, we were listening to 'My Love Is All That' (a song from 'Verbal Crush') while mixing it and I said "THIS SONG IS SO BEAUTIFUL"!!!!! Then I leant over and kissed him on the cheek…(my way of saying thank you for even letting me sing this song), and he had a tear coming down his cheek! I know that was his way of saying, "you're welcome"…you made me proud! That made me teary eyed!

Tell us something about your own album ?

Well, my own CD is called 'Verbal Crush'. I named it that because people would tell me that my voice was alluring and addictive. So, if you can't see me to have a physical crush, then you can listen to me and have a Verbal Crush! I was fortunate enough to have Khari Parker, John Blessucci, and Larry Kohut as musicians on the album and producers like Larry King, Norman Connors and Donald Tavie from Lakeside. Bobby Lyle also plays on several of the tracks ….

There are a lot of covers on the album…. 'Déjà Vu', 'It's Too Late', 'Could It be Magic' and so on …. why?

Being a GEMINI, I LOVE A CHALLENGE…I've grown up with these songs and heard them sung by the most incredible and talented singers and I wanted to see if I could do them…and do them as well as they do…I guess that was my challenge. Plus, I never heard a woman's version of one of my favourite songs 'Sara Smile' by Daryl Hall and John Oates and I wanted to do that..

What do you hope for the album and what are your immediate ambitions?

Simple …that the whole world will get to hear 'Verbal Crush'! I know that people are hungry for old school music - music that tells a story or a ballad that can be delivered vocally for pure romance. Back in the day it was about romancing someone before you got the prize! Unfortunately today they seemed to have skipped that part. I am hoping the whole world will have a VERBAL CRUSH and appreciate the love and determination and dedication that went into both mine and Norman's CD! Then I'm hoping to tour the world with my CD and hopefully they will fall in love with me like I have with my music!!!

…. And what about the future?

WRITE… WRITE … AND KEEP WRITING! I take things that I necessarily don't know how to react to but it happens in my life so I put a song to it! Then I'm hoping one day that someone like Babyface comes to me and say, "I WROTE THE PERFECT SONG FOR YOU ANTOINETTE"….Would you please do me the honour of singing it?? MY DREAM … MY DREAM……Who knows????




Wednesday, 12 November 2008 13:43 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF


Philadelphia keyboardist JEFF LORBER is a doyen of the smooth soul scene. Indeed he was in the business long before the term was even coined. With 18 solo sets under his belt, JEFF'S just launched a brand new collection - 'Heard That' - his first album for Peak Records. BILL BUCKLEY of recently caught up with JEFF to talk about the album but couldn't resist kicking things off by asking him about his early years in the City Of Brotherly Love and wondering if that city's unique musical heritage had any impact on the young LORBER ….

Unfortunately I was too young to participate very much in the music scene in Philly when I was growing up, but I heard a lot of great stuff on the radio and when I was in high school I was very lucky to see quite a few amazing musical performances come to town - people like Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, Pink Floyd and a number of Miles Davis' bands. I also went to the original Woodstock. Many of those experiences were incredible and made some very strong impressions on me regarding how powerful and creative music can be. Much later I did get to play at the legendary Sigma Sound Studios. I filmed a session for something called 'Studio Jams' in there, just before it was closed down. Also one of my father's friends was Bernie Lowe who was a writer, very much involved in the Cameo-Parkway thing, so I did hear indirectly about the business from him.

What about other influences on your work? What musicians did you really rate?

I love all the fusion music from the late 60s - through the 80s …. Like Return To Forever, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and anything from Miles, Weather Report and all the great stuff coming out from Fantasy Records…Tower of Power, Average White Band, Earth Wind And Fire… I could really go on and on. Today I don't hear a lot of current stuff that I'm crazy about but I do follow some producers like Timbaland and Pharrell. I love Keith Jarrett also; his phrasing kills me.

Tell us now about your latest album…… and why the title 'Heard That'?

'Heard That' is just a catchy phase that kind of fits with the very bluesy, R&B flavoured stuff that Rex (Rex Rideout, co-producer) and I came up with. We were referencing a lot of the early Jeff Lorber fusion grooves as well as some of our favourite bands from the 80s like the Brothers Johnson, Chic and Pleasure.

How did the tunes come about?

Most were collaborations with Rex, though I had two tracks that were previously written (although still new) - the title track and 'Don't Hold Back'. Then of course, there's 'Rehab'. That was a last minute addition.

Some people might be surprised that you chose to work on the Amy Winehouse tune. What made you go for it?

I thought it would be fun because it's got a cool rhythmic feel and the melody translates well for piano. Though, I have to say I wasn't too sure at first that it was a good idea. But people have been really enthusiastic when we play it live - so now I'm a little more confident.

The song's quite transformed. In some ways it harks back to the way Ramsey Lewis treated material like 'Hang On Sloopy' and 'Hard Day's Night' in the 60s. Would you agree? If so, was this a conscious thing or did the groove just evolve?

YES… Ramsey Lewis … I'd VERY much agree with that…however it wasn't intentional. It just kind of happened

The track's been featured on a new UK compilation from Jazz FM - a re-launched radio station that's trying to keep the smooth jazz flag flying… though some critics say its output is too bland. How would you answer people who say that smooth jazz is little better than elevator music?

Those people are right … well, sometimes anyway. However, I'm always trying to push the envelope. I like to think of what I do as contemporary jazz; trying to keep the spirit alive of some of the more adventurous musicians - like those folks I mentioned earlier.

Finally what would you say has been your greatest musical achievement and what ambitions have you left?

Probably sounds a little conceited, but achievement-wise I think I've written some pretty cool songs and for the future - well, I'm just starting to play more internationally and I really enjoy that. The crowds in Europe and Asia are younger and more hip than in the USA… in some ways anyway.


JEFF LORBER'S 'HEARD THAT' is released on Peak, Concord on 17 November 2008



Thursday, 23 October 2008 14:57 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF


Without doubt one of the best modern soul albums of 2008 is COOL MILLION'S 'Going Out Tonight'. The Expansion album has rightly won critical acclaim and no wonder! It's stuffed with classic modern soul tunes all stamped with an unashamed yet irresistible 80s retro feel. Listening to tracks like 'Give Me My Love' and 'Damn Beautiful', you'll be asking yourself where you've heard that one before. You'll be haunted by a familiar riff or a catchy refrain, but before you can place them, your attention will be whisked away on another familiar-sounding classy soul groove. It's all quite magical and strangely compulsive.'s BILL BUCKLEY resolved to find out why 'Going Out Tonight' offers so much. He discovered that COOL MILLION is essentially an enthusiastic Euro duo - FRANK RYLE and ROB HARDT and after a little more detective work BILL tracked FRANK down to his mountain retreat in Denmark. BILL began by asking FRANK how COOL MILLION came about and why they used that odd name…..

Originally Cool Million was founded by me - Frank Ryle - and Jesper Koan and the idea was to make some cool modern soul. At some point we talked about a suitable name for the project and came up with Cool Million, by accident. Actually it was a joke between Jesper and me. Jesper had some work going on with a US pop singer and an agreement laying on his desk that he was about to sign with a US manager. I asked him what kind of money was involved if any... and he replied with a "well give me a Cool Million.." We laughed a lot about it and I said why not use that name Cool Million for the project, so that was it..

How did your track, 'Naughty Girl' come to the attention of Expansion Records?

Well I know Ralph Tee from Expansion through my other project, a Danish website focusing on soul music, that's been around for over 7 years. Over the years I've been doing many reviews on various Expansion releases and I interviewed Ralph some years ago, even invited him to Copenhagen to DJ. So when the track was ready I just passed him the track and one thing led to another.

How did you feel about the song being featured on one of their famous Togetherness albums?

Well, I felt pretty good... The 'Soul Togetherness' compilations are in my humble opinion one of the best things to wait for…. always packed with high quality soul music and pure bliss from start to end. So naturally I was extremely happy.

Did the success of that song lead directly to this album or is there another explanation?

When working on 'Naughty Girl', I had the idea of a full length album in the back of my head. But first we started on a track featuring Bobby Cutchins and when that track was almost finished Jesper decided to leave the Cool Million project. So I was in a trance for an hour or two, then I decided to ask Rob - whom I knew through my soulportal site. He said yes to me straight away, and I told him my plans and he agreed and we started working on the album from day one.

All the tracks on the LP have an authentic 80s retro feel - why?

That's the way we like it. No, it has something to do with a mutual feeling between Rob and I. Both of us miss that 80s feel in the modern soul music of today. And we agreed to take a chance and try to bring some of the 80s magic back. Rob and I started out listening to soul music in the early 80s: you know people like Nile Rogers, Bernard Edwards, Jam & Lewis, Nick Martinelli, Kashif, Paul Laurence and Mtume … that whole thing with the synths, 808 drum machine, party time lyrics, happy vibe and soul music you can actually dance to... It's hard to find good uplifting soul music these days unless you go with soulful house. We wanted to end that with our album and on top of that I think I prefer the uptempo tracks most of the times.

How did you achieve that 80s feeling?

That's totally Rob's achievement… he is one of the most wicked studio musicians around and very talented as a remixer as well.

Take us through some of the tracks and tell us what were the inspirations behind each song - or, to put it another way, what is the musical point of reference for each song? For example is 'Damn Beautiful' modelled on 'Juicy Fruit'?

Yeah, you could state that a track like 'Damn Beautiful' is our tribute to Mtume. 'Walk Away' clearly has its inspiration from Kleer. In fact Woody from Kleer was very impressed with our sound on that track. A track like 'Music' featuring Jahah came out so it could sound as something Butch Ingram did in '84. But the overall idea wasn't to copy anybody but somehow use sounds that reflected that period and still be able to hear that it was made in 2008. We wanted to give the audience a little teaser... like I have heard it before, but who is it? Get them interested.

Why did you choose to cover Carol King's 'Its Too Late'?

Simple... it's one of my favourite tracks. It's a killer song and I have only heard it covered once by Gene Rice. So I figured it would be suitable for one of the best singers in Denmark, Karen Groth. She agreed to do it, and it turned out pretty good I think. In fact so good that we got a request from Mr. Tom Moulton letting us know that he wanted to remix it.

How were the songs put together? Who does the music, who does the lyrics?

The whole project is very low budget, so we had to find singers who would do it just for the love of it. We used My Space to get in contact with many of the singers; presented the concept and passed them different rough backing tracks to choose from, then they came up with want they wanted and passed their vocals to us and we finished the track with the 80s sound in mind. I do the rough first things, and Rob is the guy who arranges the vocals and the music as he is the music master.

What are your hopes for the album?

First and foremost we hope it will do really well on the soul scene in the UK and Europe, then Japan and the US. It's hard work, but we believe that this is an album for everybody. You don't need to be a soul head to feel Cool Million, so if we could get the BBC and other major radio stations and big name DJs to play us, we are sure it could/would crossover to a bigger market. But for that we must do a lot of work and maybe we would need a bit of luck.

Some critics have said that there is little point in recreating old sounds… how would you respond to that?

I don't see their point - for progression you have to look back once in a while. Look at how fashion works - designers get inspiration from all decades so why shouldn't music be that way. Right now there's a lot of music with a heavy influence from the 60s and even the 80s. We think it's all good - you don't have to be a copy cat, but it's cool to use elements from back in the days.

What are your views on the current modern soul scene?

From where I am I think it's too small: I think there should be a lot more soul music in radio, television and clubs etc. There's some good music out already, but it's hard when the major labels and radios only look for R&B and hip hop. So the underground has to open up, and try to make it less underground. I was attending a Soul Weekender earlier this year, and I was thinking that in 10 years time half of the crowd would be dead! I think they should really think about how they could bring in new generations - if it's the same DJs that are playing to these events and even the tunes are the same you don't get new blood. So I would say that the UK soul scene - which is the biggest in Europe - should look at what they do in other countries. Invite people over from Denmark, Germany, Sweden etc to play at these events. Make a bigger community. It doesn't have to be a secret or for soul heads only.

And what about your plans for the future?

Get people turned onto the Cool Million sound, do more music under the name Cool Million. Enjoy it and see how far it will bring us.



Saturday, 18 October 2008 09:46 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF


As promised, here's the second part of's interview with Californian songbird, CHANTE MOORE.

I wonder if we could talk about your background. I believe you're from San Francisco originally.

I am. San Francisco City actually. I was born in San Francisco Children's Hospital and I lived right in the city: Haight-Ashbury and different little places. I guess we moved around a little bit in the area but basically I'm from San Francisco proper.

What was it like growing up there?

It was good. My father is a minister so we were at church and happy and my mother was singing in church and I was listening, more than really singing, but I had a really good time. My parents did a great job making of me happy (laughs).

At what age did you start singing in public?

Not till I was about 16. I did a stage production called 'The Wiz' when I was 16. I really couldn't figure out why they asked me to be in it because my sister was always the one who was singing - she was well-known for that. She would always kill people when she sang. She was just really, really good. So when they asked me to do the role of Dorothy in 'The Wiz', I was like "oh no, you must be mixing me up" 'cos people would always confuse us. So that was the first time ever my family said I could sing because before that they were like "oh-oh, don't sing! You should never ever sing." They would tell me to shut up but I loved to sing so much that I would just do it anyway because I loved music. I would sing in my room to myself and my mum actually gave me a tape recorder so that I could hear how badly I sounded - that's what she said, but she didn't mean it maliciously.

Who were your early influences when you started to sing?

Well, my father is a minister, a preacher, so we weren't allowed to listen to any other music except gospel in my home as we were growing up. So Andrae Crouch, Edwin Hawkins, Tramaine Hawkins and The Imperials and a whole lot of gospel artists were my influences. Then later I listened to people that I fell in love with - like Chaka (Khan), Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and so many others. But I didn't listen to them until after I was 16 - that's when I really started branching out into music.

So how did you get to sign with MCA back in 1992?

I asked a friend of mine how I could find a good manager 'cos I needed to find somebody who could help me find a good deal. He said, "I'll manage you" and I said "Oh, OK." So we started sending out demo tapes to different record companies and we got a call back from MCA Records. We had a meeting with Louil Silas (an MCA executive), who's now passed on. He was just as excited about me as I was about him, so it worked out really well and we had a great relationship and a great partnership at that point.

So how did you feel when some of your records, like 'Love's Taken Over,' started taking off?

It was just a dream come true. You know we all dream our dreams but mine was for real, actually. It was more than I thought it would be but still exactly what I thought it would be in so many ways. So it was great. It was really a dream come true for me.

You did some great records in that period but I remember reading somewhere that you worked as a model before you became a singer. Is that true?

Yes, I did. I modelled around the San Diego area. I did a lot of modelling but then I realised I wasn't going to do it anymore, being a lowly 5'4." I didn't really see it as a serious career choice. It wasn't very wise. I didn't really give up on it but it was just something that was very local so I did a lot of taking pictures in a lot of different clubs and different things like that before I was even 18. I was modelling around a lot but my passion was for singing.

Is your family musical? I know you said your sister was a singer but were your parents musical?

My father is a pianist - a very good pianist actually - and a writer and a preacher. He's not like a singer but he sings. My mother, who has passed on, was a very good singer. She was very emotional and a very strong singer. My sister, LaTendre, got herself playing the piano and the guitar. She writes and she paints and she's more talented than any of us. My brother's a great drummer and he plays the keyboard and sings. Music was all around me always. It was just always a part of my family. We'd sing at the drop of a hat in the house, in the car, in the kitchen, cooking, whatever. We were always singing.

Do you yourself play any musical instruments?

I play a little bit of flute and a little bit of piano but not enough to be the one to show anybody anything (laughs). I'm more of a writer - a writer and a melody girl.

In the past you wrote quite a few songs but on this new album you don't do as much songwriting. Why is that?

I didn't do as much. I just found some really great songs. There were a lot of people who wanted to work on my project seeing that there had been large span of time between my last solo album and this one. A lot of my musician friends were like: "oh my God, when you start the new album start calling me." They had some great songs for me. And a great song is a great song. I don't have to be the writer on my albums - I just have to agree with what my collaborators are doing.

Last year you starred in a stage play with Dave Hollister.

Oh, Dave Hollister - yes, uh-huh, we were in a play called 'By Any Means Necessary' and it actually starred Tisha Campbell-Martin, Dave Hollister, Guy Torry and myself. It was a gospel play with music and acting. It was a lot of acting actually, more than I'd done any time before. It was so much fun. Tisha Campbell is such a professional person. I learned a lot working with her so closely as we were in just about every scene together. I really, really enjoyed it and learned a lot. It was very comedic, which I loved because I love being funny and being goofy and not what people expect to see compared with who they think I am. So we had a great, great time.

Do you think you'll be doing anything else like that in the future?

If the right thing happens I might take it. I'm not going to foresee it this very second but if it comes to me, yeah, I'd do it (laughs).

What's been the highlight of your career to date?

Oh, there's too many to narrow it down. I've been fortunate. What I like is that my career's been pretty consistent so I don't feel it as highs and lows. From the first time that I was on 'Showtime At The Apollo,' that was a highlight. But that was my first album so those things just standout. But having a career that is still lasting and being able to do what I do for a living with the knowledge that there are so many people who came out at the same time who are now not able to do this sort of thing, that's a highlight. The fact that the Lord has sustained me for such a long time and I do not have to compensate by having other jobs on the side has been the real highlight. It hasn't been a lot of high highs or a number one this and number one that, but it's been consistent and I've enjoyed my life - so the highlight has been doing what I love.

What little known fact about you would surprise your fans?

I used to like to crochet but I don't do that much now. I like to roller skate. I'm a homebody: I love old movies. I love eating popcorn and fattening food and sitting there having fun watching old movies with Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn in and things like that. I guess I'm a little bit adventurous but most of the time I'm just a homebody because I have to travel so much. I just enjoy being at home with my kids.

What's it like being in the music industry and having to bring up a family as well? Is that very difficult?

It's a challenge but I find because I know what is most important - my family - it's not as challenging as it could be. If you're chasing being a star and you have a family I think you can lose sight of what is most important, which is your family. My children want their mother and I'm a big star as far as they are concerned just being 'Mommy.' So to raise children who are cognitive of the world and also aware of themselves and confident, that's the most important thing to me - making sure that they are happy and that they know they're loved and they're not secondary is all that matters.

Do you have any unfulfilled ambitions?

I'm an inventor. There are things that I've created that I want to get patented.

Such as? What sort of things?

Well I can't tell you! (laughs).

I know you can't tell me but can't you drop a hint or something?

No, but it will be coming out soon (Laughs).

Well, let me put it like this: are you an inventor of things for the home, things for the environment or things related to music?

It's not for music. It's more for the things for everyday use. It will very much be for the average person and not entertainment.

So we can look forward to seeing those things sometime in the near future can we?

You absolutely will (laughs).

What's your all-time favourite record? I know that seems like a ridiculous question but is there a record that you keep going back to and never tire of?

Well, I'm so much of a music lover that it's so hard: it's like saying which one is your favourite kid? At a certain time in my life there were so many different songs. I could name Prince - he definitely has a lot of my favourite songs; I love Prince. There's also a song by (saxophonist) David Sanborn, which is called 'Love Will Come Someday.' Michael Sembello sings it and it's such a beautiful song - that's one of my favourite songs in the world for sure. There are so many wonderful songs. I remember the first time I ever heard a Chaka Khan song. It stopped me dead in my tracks when I heard 'Hollywood.' That was the very first time I heard her voice. I was walking through the park during my church's picnic. I walked through somebody else's camp on my way to the playground and I heard her voice and it just paralysed me right there - I had to listen to the rest of the song. It was awesome.

Was it a life-changing experience for you?

It was just such an awakening. I just thought: 'who is that?' It was just so beautiful (starts singing the riff to 'Hollywood' by Rufus and Chaka Khan). She just had such a unique way and it was so beautiful. I had never heard her voice before and I remember that moment distinctively.

Have you ever met Chaka and told her about your experience?

I don't think I did tell her that story but I've met and sang with her. Perhaps I should tell her she stopped me dead in my tracks (laughs).

Are there any other artists around at the moment who you would like to make a record with?

There are so many talented artists. Actually, Gladys Knight would be somebody I would love to work with. Although she's not a young artist, I love her music. I think Alicia Keyes is extremely talented and Rihanna I like - except the style: I'm not sure we'd work together. There are so many good people. That's just off the top of my head.

You mentioned some contemporary artists there. What's your view of contemporary R&B? Has it declined in standard in recent years?

You know, R&B right now is a little too sexual instead of really concentrating on what real music is about. Some of the songs that are on the radio right now have lyrics that my daughter would be in trouble if she ever sang in front of me. I don't like the way things are going but maybe that's me getting older and because I have children. Maybe if I was 18 I wouldn't think it was that bad but I do think the content's pretty awful sometimes, because we're losing the focus on what real life is about. Love is not sex. Sex is not what it's about. Sex is great when you're in love but just sex for sex is not what it's about. People are looking for love and having sex and I don't think they know the difference and are caught up in thinking lust is love. I don't want them to miss out but that's just part of what love is. A relationship is about love, not lust.

Finally, the music industry since you started your career has changed an awful lot. What's your view of the current state of the music business?

It's been difficult because it used to be about the artist and about the album but now it's about politics and about a single or marketing and things that have little to do with artistry and music. There's so much more diversity than what I hear on the radio. We've given that power to the record company and given that the power to the program directors, rather than the DJs. It used to be that if you got a record to the DJ he would get so excited he'd play your music: he'd play the songs that are not singles and all that stuff but now only one song gets played and nothing else gets a look in. I'm not a singles kind of artist: I'm an album artist. A single's just one side and there are a whole lot of different sides and different layers to me. I think that makes me a brave artist because there's more than just one dimension of my music and my expression of myself.

(as told to Charles Waring)

'Love The Woman' is out now on Peak Records.



Wednesday, 15 October 2008 12:22 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF


The supremely photogenic Californian-songbird, Chanté Moore - now 41, but looking and sounding as good as ever - first came to the attention of record buyers in 1992 with 'Love's Taken Over,' a hypnotic slice of groove-drenched sensual soul that was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic. Moore, who married singer Kenny Lattimore in 2002, hasn't made an album in her own right since 2000's 'Exposed' so the recent arrival of what is only her fifth studio opus, 'Love The Woman' - out now on Peak Records - has understandably generated a fair degree of excitement in the soul world. Here, she talks to's Charles Waring - not only about her fine new record but, as will be revealed later in the concluding part of this interview, her early life, family, musical influences and much, much, more.

It's been 8 years since your solo last album. What have you been up to?

I've been singing with my husband (Kenny Lattimore). We did one double album ('Covered/Uncovered') and one single album ('Things That Lovers Do') together. The first album was a tribute to the duet and we didn't have any real creative freedom with it - it was remixed - so then we felt like we should really just play our own idea of what a duet between us would be. We did the original album and then the album turned into a double album because the record company asked us to do a gospel album, which would complement the R&B love songs. There wasn't really a plan, as much as it just unfolded day by day and year by year and album by album.

What's the story behind your new album 'Love The Woman'?

I just wanted to make music that was coming from my heart and that I enjoy listening to. I wasn't trying to chase a trend or be hip or anything. I just wanted to make good music.

You've reunited with George Duke, who worked on your very first album. What was it like working with him again?

Well, he's like family so it's always easy to work with George: he's a great producer and he's a great person. We have fun in the studio. Both of us wanted to get back in there together. We talked about it many times so we were excited to be able to do it.

You cover Minnie Riperton's song, 'Give Me Time,' on the new album. Has she been an influence on your own vocal style?

Well I guess so. I admire her very much. I don't try to imitate her but I definitely grew up listening to her songs.

You teamed up with Raphael Saadiq on 'Something Special.' How was that as a recording experience?

He's crazy. Most people in the music business are and so we had a great time - we really enjoyed laughing, and he's extremely talented. I loved the song so it was pretty easy and fun to do.

The title track is a collaboration with Jamey Jaz. What was it like working with him?

He's extremely talented. He actually did a lot of work with Rahsaan Paterson and Shanice Wilson. He's not as well known as he should be but he's a really nice person that lives in Los Angeles. We've worked together quite a few times on a different couple of albums we put together before. So he's just a good guy who makes good music. We like writing together and just creating songs even when there is no album.

Warryn Campbell also worked on the album with you - what was he like to work with?

Well he's a Christian and I love his music in the gospel realm, like what he's done with Mary Mary. What I love about working with him is that it's more about good music than it is about being gospel or not gospel. He only writes good music and does great production too. The lyric content is poignant but not too far off to the left, 'cos I think some of the songs that I hear now are a little bit discouraging - I wouldn't want my children singing along to some of the things that are said in R&B sometimes nowadays, so I like a song that's relative and relevant but not too far off - it's respectful about what it's saying but it's still hip enough to be hip.

You cover 'Guess Who I Saw Today,' originally cut by Nancy Wilson. I wondered if you've ever contemplated doing a complete album of jazz-oriented songs.

I have thought about it. I think it's one step at a time for me with that. I do love jazz - I always have, and I think it's such a good feeling and that's what I like about it. I don't necessarily think that I'm a jazz singer but I like songs that make sense, songs that have stories and songs that make you feel a particular way when you're singing them and hearing them. I like that song in particular and I've sung it quite a few years and always threatened to do it as a remake on one of my albums.

The CD bonus cut is a cover of an old, pre-Atlantic, Aretha Franklin song, 'This Could Be The Start Of Something Big.' What made you choose to record it?

I love that song. It was a song that I really heard a long time ago but it is straight ahead jazz and it is just such a fun song to sing live. She's just so versatile anyway, and I love Aretha: she's done so many songs that I'd never heard before. When I was younger I just thought it was all about from 'Respect' on but there are so many things she did before that song ever even came out.

(as told to Charles Waring)

'Love The Woman' is out now on Peak Records and is reviewed at

The second and concluding part of's interview with Chanté Moore will follow at a later date.


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