Jonas Winge Leisner delivers a “sweet Sticky” debut

For his work over the last two decades, singer and songwriter, Jonas Winge Leisner has encouraged the designation as one of the most important voices on the danish soul scene. Leisner himself is noticeably humbled by and reserved at adopting that title. “Well, that status is of course not something I would say myself. That’s for others to judge,” says Leisner. But the accolade seems to be well earned with years of building a following through, amongst other accomplishments, extensive touring as a solo artist and as part of revered danish soul/funk orchestra, Ridin’ Thumb as well as the popular live music collective from Copenhagen, THE 5to8’S, known for its marathon concerts of improvised soul, hip hop, funk and r&b.

Surprisingly, Leisner also garnered that distinction throughout this time without having released a full project or EP of his own. That, however, has been rectified with the release of his new EP,  Sticky. Borrowing from a chest of soulful influences and vibes – classic to 70’s-inspired and funk-infused to present day hip – Sticky is a seamless, groove-filled, impressive ride through the dimensions of the sound. On the project, Leisner enlisted the fine production skills of Swedish multi-instrumentalist and producer Daniel Fridell along with the other talented musical brethren from the 5to8’s collective, accomplished artists and songwriters, Bobby Bovell from the U.K. and Dane namesake, Jonas Rendbo. The infectious sound that the four have been brewing and bumpin’ over the years proved the perfect canvas and encouragement for Leisner’s Sticky debut.

Jonas Winge Leisner answered some questions for us about the new project, Sticky including the soulful influences heard throughout and why it took this long for the release of a full project.       

How did you come to be so heavily influenced by the range of soul music reflected on Sticky?

“I think it happened by chance. When I was in my early teens, I knew nothing about soul music. I was playing piano and singing Beatles tunes. One night – which I remember very vividly – I was watching the Spike Lee movie, Jungle Fever, that Stevie Wonder did the soundtrack for. I noticed his music throughout the movie, but when a ballad came over the end credits I got goosebumps to the point where I literally leapt off the couch. That started a dive into first, anything by Stevie Wonder. And since initially I found a lot of his music on these old Motown compilations that my parents, who are also musicians, took home from their record label, I got a broader introduction to a lot of those artists, including and especially Marvin Gaye. From that start it all came organically, and it was natural to later start listening to a lot of newer soul music, like Omar, Musiq Soulchild, Erykah Badu, Bilal etc 

Would you consider Sticky to be a kind of homage to soul music and its luminaries? 

It was never something I thought consciously about when we were making the music. But I think when you take on a genre, and you use the musical language and the sound of those luminaries as a part of your own music, then everything you do really becomes a homage. I think to be inspired by something and using it creatively is a very clear act of love. 

With being on the music scene for two decades why did it take this long to do a full project or EP of your own? 

“I’ve been quite good at writing 20-30% of a song, and then putting it to one side – and often lacking the courage to involve others which would require me to share something unfinished and rough. For long periods of time my main focus has been on the next gig, seeing myself (and feeling quite comfortable) as more of ‘just’ a singer than a songwriter. Most of what I’ve done in the studio has been initiated by others – and that’s been fine, really. The thing that changed this time around is the building of a musical relationship with good friends that started on the live stage and progressed into the studio. Where we all really felt like doing something creative together. And thankfully we found that chemistry in the writing and production process, which has then taken me from rarely writing or recording to being fairly productive (we have a LOT of other songs written and partially recorded, that we’ll be working  on now that this EP is out there).”

What do you hope Sticky will reveal about the artist you are? 

“I hope people will connect to the playfulness of the music, both in the productions and in the vocals – and feel how the songs are used as vehicles for emotions like joy, wonder, and a lot of different thoughts and questions that may occupy our minds. I also hope people will enjoy the songs on a very basic level – as something to dance to, drive to, wash dishes to,  which I see is happening already. And that’s the most important thing.” 

Check out the title song, lead single and full debut EP, Sticky from Jonas Winge Leisner on all major music platforms including HERE on Spotify

“The Pulse” celebrates Jazz Appreciation Month with Dara Tucker

On this episode of The Pulse, host and WBGO Afternoon Jazz radio personality, Keanna Faircloth, celebrates Jazz Appreciation Month talking with vocalist, pianist and composer, Dara Tucker. The award-winning artist has crafted an engaging style weaving a tapestry of acoustic jazz, soul and more for her angelic voice on her several projects including the latest single, “Secret O’ Life” from her anticipated release, Dreams of Waking: Music for a Better World Join Keanna and Dara for their enjoyable and enlightening conversation as they talk about her musical journey including, the new project; writing the Grammy-winning song, “Oklahoma” for acclaimed, contemporary Blues Artist, Keb Mo and her surprise comedic, Tik Tok fame. Check out the episode below:

For Keanna’s full write up on the WBGO website click HERE

The Pulse is the splendid brainchild of, Keanna Faircloth who presents an outstanding array of burgeoning and acclaimed artists with a common strand of jazz, but with a mix of other musical influences. The Pulse is presented live on the WBGO Facebook , and subsequently available here on I SPY SOUL.net as well as on the WBGO website. Don’t miss it!

To check out Dara Tucker’s latest single “Secret O’ Life” and more on Spotify click here

Chandanie’s Intersections lead us to where societal commentary and soulful sounds meet

Accomplished singer/songwriter, Chandanie, describes her new EP, Intersections as a, “5 song conversation of Being that collides with Blackness, womyness & self-worth.” It perhaps seems like a far-reaching pursuit and weighty spectrum to explore in the space of five songs. However, it’s likely the purpose of this impressive collection is to not only be witness to a conversation in the moment, but to spawn further dialog or even more, to stoke your awareness. All is achieved by way of her artfully asserting you see the full picture in all of its complex simplicity. It’s an example of what she’s dubbed Soul Liberation Music where siblings, soul, jazz, R&B and more form the musical landscape for meaningful messages and societal commentary to thrive. It should be successful in garnering your attention with respect to the subject matter and to the very talented, thoughtful artist on the rise Chandanie surely is. Wonderfully backed by minimal instrumentation that centers you on her engaging voice and wisdom, she assuredly helms the discussion with a soulful vocal flow and tone that harnesses both nostalgia and newness – surrounded by supremely crafted harmonies.

Co-produced by the Maryland-born vocalist, who now calls Brooklyn, NY home, and frequent collaborator, guitarist/songwriter, Vo-Era, Intersections includes the first two, previously released singles, “I Win My Love” and “Make We Whole” featuring accomplished rap artist, JSWISS. Independently, the two served on their own as solidly fly offerings with ruminative statements.  The first proclaims love of self as primary after someone proves no longer worthy of it. The second, she explains, explores and asks, “What are the possibilities when we’re not confined by a little box called gender?”  But as part of Intersections the two fit winningly in Chandanie’s overall scope of conversation, joining three other stunning additions, “You Touch My Heart,” “Moonlight,” and “Miss Mary Mack,” the last track, which she describes as “exploring the experience of Being and Blackness.” 

“During live shows, I’ve affectionately described the track as a shoutout to the colonizers,” says Chandanie of “Miss Mary Mack,” which recalls the title of a popular, old school clapping game and rhyme.  “My intentional repetitions of Mary, Marie as pronounced in Spanish, English and French are an acknowledgement of the nations that colonized indigenous communities around the world.” 

The lyrics poetically sound a call for deserved acknowledgement, change, and respect. “Black people show up to empower us all,” Chandanie maintains. “We show up to polling sites, we show up in the streets to protest, we show up with our wealth of creativity in society. The hope [is] that the world will show up for us too. A belief in an allyship that we can believe in.” That goes for being specifically a Black womyn as well, counting as a mantra of sorts for herself, “to live a life not based on exploiting my labor for profit and being able to own my beauty as a black womyn without being told otherwise.” It also speaks of true freedom with words like, I want to feel a real release/ been inhaling lies and exhaling grief/give me carefree, black feet carefree. “I’d like to think that Miss Mary Mack has hints of afrofuturism. It dreams of a future that we’re all striving for. A liberation that currently lives in our fantasies,”Chandanie admits.

For sure, Chandanie and Intersections will fetch high acclaim and encouraged the need for more spirited conversation, both from and about her.

Below is a live performance of the song, “Miss Mary Mack” at National Sawdust in NYC

Intersections is available on all major platforms including HERE on Spotify

For more about Chandanie visit her website at imchandanie.com 

“The Pulse” celebrates the women of WBGO and more exciting news!

The Pulse with host and WBGO Afternoon Jazz radio personality, Keanna Faircloth  celebrates Women’s History Month with a special edition featuring the women of WBGO in a discussion on navigating a career in radio, the challenges of working in male dominated spaces and the unique landscape of jazz. Joining Keanna, are notable hosts Rhonda Hamilton, Awilda Rivera, Lezlie Harrison, Monifa Brown, Sheila Anderson and Nicole Sweeney. Check out this very interesting and insightful conversation below:

I SPY SOUL is excited to share the popular interview series with our audience here on our website via rebroadcast. Presented live on the WBGO Facebook page, The Pulse is the splendid brainchild of host Keanna Faircloth and clear kindred platform of I SPY SOUL that presents an array of outstanding burgeoning and acclaimed artists with a common strand of jazz, but with a mix of other musical influences. Stay tuned for upcoming episodes!