Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1082

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Feature

Queenbrit Live: Fresh Heir

QueenBrit Live @bluesandsoul.com
QueenBrit Live @bluesandsoul.com QueenBrit Live @bluesandsoul.com QueenBrit Live @bluesandsoul.com QueenBrit Live @bluesandsoul.com

Interestingly based in the small Mediterranean city of Almeria on the coast of Southern Spain, multi-cultural soul/rock/pop/blues quintet QueenBrit Live this month precede forthcoming prestigious July shows at Tenerife’s Hard Rock Café with the ska-infused groove of their independently-released new single “Fight For”.

Indeed, with the band’s London-born-and-bred lead vocalist/songwriter Carlene Graham’s 18 years in the industry boasting onstage background vocals for the likes of megastar pop Queen Madonna (Hyde Park’s 2005’s Live 8 concert) and Simply Red’s Mick Hucknall (2004’s Royal Albert Hall Tsunami Concert) in addition to television BVs for such industry icons as Dionne Warwick and Shakira, QueenBrit Live’s line-up additionally comprises Andalusian keyboardist/composer Luis Sanchez; Belgian drummer Bjorn Driessen (who owns the band’s recording/rehearsal home, Almeria’s spaciously state-of-the-art Estudio Villalobos); Venezuelan guitarist Pedro Olmedo; plus Jamaica-born bass-player Errol Ross, who in addition to being Carlene’s father is best known internationally as the award-winning producer of ska revivalists The Selecter’s 1980 Gold-selling, UK Top Five debut album “Too Much Pressure” for legendary Coventry label 2 Tone Records.

All of which in turn leads to a naturally eclectic and refreshingly diverse, self-contained musical vibe, as evidenced on the group’s August 2014-released debut album “Angels And Demons” and the hypnotic intensity of their sexily-undulating recent single “Take Me”.

… Cue an enthusiastic and forthcoming Carlene (who in 2001 was personally invited to sing acapella at The House Of Commons by MP Diane Abbott and whose “Queen Brit” nickname emanates from time spent living in Newark, New Jersey as the only British girl on the block!), Errol and Bjorn on the line from their Almeria base to “Blues & Soul” Assistant Editor Pete Lewis to impressively conduct their first-ever international cover interview.

PETE: Let’s start with how the band itself first came together…

CARLENE: “Well, with me moving over here to Spain to regroup and kind of start again musically in 2010, what happened was the day after I arrived my dad - who was already living here - introduced me to our drummer Bjorn (Driessen), who at the time was 10 days away from completion of what is now our recording and rehearsal home, Studio Villalobos. And with me having been on such a low and really feeling the need to make music on a professional level as an artist and not just touring as a backing vocalist, straightaway a connection was made and within hours my father, Bjorn and myself had decided to get a cover band going - really just for the love of playing music and getting back out there. Meanwhile, around the same time, I also decided to start giving singing lessons, and it was actually through that that our keyboard player Luis Sanchez first came into the picture. Basically, he was teaching production in the same building I was teaching singing; one day I happened to hear some piano tickling in the next room; I drifted in there; we met - and before we knew it we were writing a bunch of SONGS together! Then from there, we made a presentation of the songs for Bjorn, my father, and also Antonio Gomez who was our original guitar player - and straightaway everybody was like ‘We’re forming a BAND!’! You know, studio-wise Bjorn already had everything we could possibly need as musicians right here ready to go, and the songs Luis and I had written then became “Angels And Demons”, our first ALBUM!... So yeah, in a nutshell, that’s how QueenBrit Live came together.”

You can read more from our interview with QueenBrit Live 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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Photographer/Graphic Designer: KIKO ALCAZAR
Words PETE LEWIS

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