Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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China Moses: Fine China

Former MTV presenter turned Jazz chanteuse, China Moses, talks new album, Nightintales”, collabs with Anthony Marshall and gaining inspiration from her Grammy-winning mother, Dee Dee Bridgewater...

With her latest album “Nightintales” China Moses is sure to turn more than a few heads in the U.K. music scene. With an authentically soulful delivery, China's voice all of her life experiences through her voice resulting in music that is raw, up-lifting and always unwaveringly honest. Currently residing in Paris, the U.S. born songstress has already had a long and varied career, with a resume that boasts five previous albums, acting roles, her own radio show, and nine years as a host on MTV, France. In 2016 Moses held down co-hosting duties for the MOBO’S pre-show with the UK's favourite green eyed soul man, Lamar.

China also achieved the dream of generations of little girls around the world when she literally became a Disney Princess, having been selected to voice Princess Tiana for the French dubbed version of Disney's “The Princess And The Frog”. Her accolades are impressive to say that least but it is her musical lineage that continues to influence her today. The daughter of Grammy-winning Jazz vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater, Moses has been surrounded by music all of her life.

In homage to her musical heroines, Moses recorded a Dinah Washington tribute album,“This One's For Dinah” in 2009 and “Crazy Blues - a tribute to the female vocalists of Blues and Soul” three years later. However, it's been over a decade since “Good Lovin'”, her last recording of all original material. China begins by explaining the reasons for the long hiatus “I've just been doing other things, along with music. I was on TV for a very long time. In France, I was doing a live daily show which took up a lot of time. I started MTV in 2004 and I stoped music for about a year and a half. When It came to music, it was under the format of “This One's for Dinah”. TV over took my time. I had a metal soul band for awhile and that brought me back to music. I wasn't giving up, but I figured that maybe I was better at being a TV presenter and that was my chance. I was accepting life as it came. I never had the desire to be front and centre on stage but once I stopped music because I figured “hey, I've got a show on MTV France, travelling the world, interviewing celebrities. That's a pretty good life. I stayed with MTV for nine years.

“I think this album was the first time I was doing something when everything was against me. All the signs were saying, “you shouldn't be going down this road, you've just gotten dropped from your label, you don't know where you’re going and you don't feel like doing another covers album”. There was a lot of things that made me make a decision. I was popular, on national TV when I started this project and I quit everything. I was an on-air personality and music journalist for thirteen years, then in 2012, I had a “what the fuck” moment. I was interviewing Meryl Streep but there was a lot of people on the panel and I couldn't get a word in. I thought “why are you doing this?”. There are people that would kill to have this job and you are not happy at all. So I decided to leave, I said: “thank you but goodbye”. (It wasn't about money) I make enough money from touring and doing jazz concerts. I get so much more pleasure meeting people and seeing the world. Life is way too fucking short (to do something that makes you unhappy)”

“Since I entered the jazz world I don't think singles really exist,” Moses says referring to the album's various online teasers. “On the album, all the songs are so rhythmically different. I have friends and different directors that want to work with me on particular songs, so everyone chooses their song. With this album, I have done my part, now it about being on stage and sharing the message and hoping that people enjoy it. Image wise, that comes from all the great people who are around me. I think the label is saying “Running” is the first official single. It represents the most, the mind set I was in during this project.

On her collaboration London producer/song-writer Anthony Marshall, China reveals “I met Anthony Marshall when we wrote half of the “Good Lovin” album together. He's a fabulous musician and producer. He came to my surprise birthday party, Anthony doesn't drink alcohol. I'm like his wild child crazy sister. The next morning, on the piano he was playing what became the song, “Hung Over”. I said “ooh. I'm hung over” because I drank way too much champagne the night before! Anthony then completed the line by saying “way over” My husband suggested that I should contact Anthony for this album. It was supposed to be a covers album but we started writing, we actually wrote it in five days. We just started writing one song, then two…it's just life. Sometimes the thing you need the most is siting right next to you”.

You can read more from our interview with China Moses, including her obsession with UK music, Soul II Soul, Goldie and the acid jazz scene, telling Giles Peterson to sign her at the age of 16, China's hip-hop no no and her confidence issues as she struggled to measure up to her accomplished mother, Dee Dee Bridgewater ...All in the current issue of Blues & Soul Magazine - click the link below to order straight from our shop or read on for high street retailer details.

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The Album “Nightintales” is out through MPS Records


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PHOTOS: Sylvain Norget
Words Karen Lawler

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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