All roads lead to Ebony Alleyne
LONDON SONGSTRESS EBONY ALLEYNE LOVINGLY RECREATES THE SIXTIES/SEVENTIES SOPHISTO-SOUL VIBE WITH HER ACCLAIMED DEBUT ALBUM `NEVER LOOK BACK`
The sexy designer shades; the strikingly-big hair; the perfectly-manicured, long fingernails... Relaxing at a pavement table outside Soho`s trendy Bar Italia, a 20-something Ebony Alleyne could easily pass for an upcoming contemporary pop/R&B starlet. Nevertheless, one listen to her debut LP `Never Look Back` will reveal a quality sophisticated soul set, whose live, fully-orchestrated arrangements and well-crafted songs authentically combine Sixties and Seventies musical values in terms of lyrics, melody and overall sound.
Instrumentally, meanwhile, musical authenticity arrives mostly courtesy of Britain`s esteemed Snake Davis & The Suspicions: “Yes, it was a massive project to record. Because, in addition to 60 strings, we had a full live band. And working with Snake & The Suspicions was great, because they`re just so polished at what they do and they play together so instinctively”, gushes Ebony: ”And to me that represents the whole essence of an Ebony Alleyne album. You know, it is something completely different to what you`re being presented with on an everyday basis today. It`s not about the newest technology or the latest drum-sound or production technique. It`s live soul music recorded by live musicians, with no electronic enhancement whatsoever. Which is not only what I`m about as an artist, but also the reason I got into music in the first place! Plus the process of making music through instruments as opposed to through machinery does of course make an immense difference to the sound!”
With the bulk of `Never Look Back` having originally been recorded (but never released) during Ebony`s aforementioned short tenure at Sony, five newly-recorded tracks have been added to accompany its current release through London soul indie Expansion: “You have to remember Sony was going through a lot of changes in 2003, when I was with them”, acknowledges Ebony: “And I actually think me leaving the label at that time has turned out to be the best thing. Because, during the period in between, there has been a shift and a change in the British music scene. To where the climate today is far more suited to the music I`m doing. Back then there was a worry that I was too young to be making music like this, and I was constantly being asked `Are your contemporaries going to listen?`… I mean, to me everything goes in waves. While you will get a period when people will be more interested in frivolous music, you also get a time when quality becomes more important. And I definitely think this is that time.”
Words PETE LEWIS