Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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Feature

Edei: Independent Women

Edei @bluesandsoul.com
Edei @bluesandsoul.com

With her effortlessly cool vocals, refreshingly independent spirit and sweetly soulful vibe, 21-year-old London singer/songwriter Edei looks set to become one of the freshest new arrivals to the UK music scene of 2010. As is indeed evidenced by the breezily melodic, radio-friendly vibe of her new debut single âIn My Bedâ.

Nevertheless, while today Edei names soul legends like Marvin Gaye and Patti Labelle as her main influences alongside credible childhood pop heroes like Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake, her first brush with pop fame actually arrived via another musical icon - hip hop heavyweight Jay-Z. When - at just 10 years old, and as part of the West End cast of the musical âAnnieâ - she found herself on âTop Of The Popsâ singing âHard Knock Lifeâ alongside the chart-topping rap superstar!

Meanwhile today, with Edei herself having since been brought to the attention of - and signed by - noted management team Freshwater/Hughes (best known for discovering and developing Joss Stone), this month currently finds her in the studio with Boston-born, Dublin-based female producer Misreid putting the finishing touches to her forthcoming debut album âInside Informationâ. Whose accessible mix of funk, soul and pop also interestingly benefits from the input of Mary J. Bligeâs backing singers plus Alicia Keysâ brass section.

All of which a talkative and visually-model-like Edei discusses with Pete Lewis over mid-afternoon drinks amidst the bustle of a hotânâcrowded West End coffee bar.

Her new, debut single âIn My Bedâ

âMy producer and I had been working together trying to get the whole sound of this soul thing to come across in a different way from the OTHER people whoâve done it recently. And, though weâd written maybe four or five songs, we still hadnât really quite got it⦠But then one day we just sat down and had this idea of like different fairytales, where we were talking about âJack in The Boxâ, âGoldielocksâ⦠And when that came up as âSomeoneâs been sleeping in my bedâ, we kinda just wrote the song from THERE! And it literally became the quickest song weâd written for the whole ALBUM - as well as the funniest! Because, while itâs obviously about finding someone sleeping in your bed - which isnât the nicest thing - the fact itâs based on the whole fairytale thing makes it so much more FUN! As opposed to just making it a sad, slow song about some guy cheating on you.â

Reasons for Edei titling her forthcoming first album âInside Informationâ

âThe title actually comes from one of the songs on the album - âInside Informationâ, which is about wanting to be with someone but not being able to because you donât know what theyâre thinking inside. And I think for an album title it is quite interesting, because it represents people coming and finding MY inside information through my SONGS. Which is why we thought it was quite different, quite catchy.â

How she breaks it down musically and lyrically

âMusically Iâd say it was quite a listenable, relaxing album. I mean, âIn My Bedâ - as the first single - I think is a lot more pop than the REST of the record, purely for reasons of radio and of first getting my music out there. I mean, weâve got some ballads; thereâs a few uptempos; thereâs a Michael Jackson cover weâve given a cool soul vibe to... While lyrically a lot of the songs do reflect things that have happened in either MY life or my FRIENDSâ lives. Like the song âInvisible Scarâ, which is about my best friendâs dad leaving and how that can leave an invisible scar that stays with you for the rest of your life. While âBack To Oneâ is actually about my parents, and how they coped when my dad went through a stage of serious illness.â

Edeiâs working relationship with Boston-born, Dublin-based female producer Misreid

âI first met Misreid about a year ago, and we just clicked straightaway. I mean, itâs quite weird to have a female producer, because it is something thatâs still very rare in the music industry. But to me itâs definitely a GOOD thing. Because weâve got a lot more in common; we understand each other; we have fun, sit back and laugh... So yeah, working with her to create the whole sound of my album has been an amazing experience. And whatâs so incredible is that, thought sheâs so talented, for her music is actually just a hobby! Her main work is for a pharmaceutical company! So I just find her a really interesting and intelligent woman. Plus the fact sheâs come from America and I was brought up in London means she and I have very different life experiences. Which in turn gives us more topics to draw from song-wise.â

How Edei first got into singing soul/R&B music professionally

âI think the soul thing came into play when I was around 15 and I discovered (TV vocal coach and one-time Brit-soul hitmaker) David Grant was doing singing lessons. Because Iâd seen him on television, I was like âSeems a friendly guy. Letâs GO!â⦠And he was actually the first person who said to me âOh, you have such a soulful voice for a white girlâ⦠And, though I was like âI have listened to soul my whole life but never even THOUGHT about singing it because it would be too difficultâ, he was like âNo, itâs definitely something you should pursueâ... So from there I just started working with producers who were into soul and Motown, like Elliott Kennedy. Which in turn got me wanting to do it as a career even MORE!â

How she eventually hooked up with her current managers - the Freshwater/Hughes team, most famous for discovering and developing Joss Stone

âThat happened when I was the main support for Girls Aloud last year. And again, it was actually David Grant who got Brian (Freshwater) and Jackie (Hughes) to come and watch me at Wembley. And, once theyâd seen me, they met with me afterwards and were like âWe really want to take you ON!â⦠Which for me was great - because I think Joss Stone is quite a cool name to be associated with! And what really bowled me over about them was how they really believed in ME! You know, I think itâs very hard in this industry to actually have people on your team that really, really want it for YOU - as opposed to wanting it for other, different reasons. And I honestly feel that, out of all the people Iâve worked with in all the years Iâve been doing this, with Brian and Jackie Iâve got the best team around me that Iâve EVER had. Because, when you work with people who genuinely believe in YOU, I think youâre already half-way there!â

Edeiâs single âIn My Bedâ is released August 9. Her album âInside Informationâ will follow in early 2011, both through Alma

You can read more about Edei; including her meeting with Jay-Z when she was 11! In the 'limited edition' Blues & Soul magazine which hits the shops this August - or pre-order it now online.
Words PETE LEWIS

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