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Robin McKelle: Bio

An Enigmatic Sound, a Storyteller's Narrative and a Live Performance Style Imbued with Rat Pack Moxie – Singer and Writer Robin McKelle is a Genre-Blurring Musical Alchemist, Taking Listeners on a Sonic Trip to the Old South, Sprinkling in Hints of the Motown Era or Even a Sade Album, and Mixing it Together to Create Her Inspiring ‘Melodic Canvas' of Soul, Jazz, Gospel and More

Singer/writer Robin McKelle is a musical enigma,and proudly so. On her upcoming April 20th album Melodic Canvas, she's empowered by the alchemy, embracing her genre-blurring style and no longer trying to fit into a box. The result is a deeply textured, rich, authentic collection, a mix of timely social commentary, intimate lyrics and a thoughtful call to action.

A savvy songwriter and a powerhouse vocalist, McKelle has long found a home where soul, jazz,pop, gospel, blues and the American Songbook cross paths. On the new cd, her sonic template takes listeners on a trip down to the Old South,or sprinkles in a sound that could've emerged from the Motown era, or even a Sade album. In her live performances, she exudes a bandleader's moxie that recalls the Rat Pack era. There's an insightful storyteller's voice that connects the new songs, a narrative thread that feels smart and soulful. McKelle's characters are vividly drawn, from the struggling teen in ‘Lyla' to the immigrant tale of ‘Simple Man'; the moments of social awareness, in ‘Yes We Can Can' (an Allen Toussaint cover featuring Chris Potter) and ‘It Won't End Up', are wise and inspiring without feeling heavy-handed; on first single ‘Do You Believe', out March 30th, McKelle questions religion, hate, misogyny. For the upcoming CD (which she produced,) McKelle sought a more ‘acoustic' vibe with a focus on percussion, to allow the subtleties of her voice to shine. In her songwriting and in the arrangements/production of the album, she mixes her varied influences together with strength and grace.

She comments, "There is a common thread that weaves through the music of this album. To inspire, through music, kindness and acceptance and a willingness to have the courage to stand with our brothers and sisters in equality no matter color, race, religion or ethnicity. To foster hope at a time when we seem to need it most. A musical mentor once told me that as an artist, this is our call to action. Melodic Canvas is my contribution. When thinking about making this record I was finding that I was really drawn first, to the idea of an acoustic sound - using an instrumentation that would allow me to use more of the subtleties in my voice. I thought the idea of using percussion would give the music and earthy and warm vibe.

1 Mess Around  
2 I Can't See Nobody  
3 Never Make A Move Too Soon  
4 Everybody Knows  
5 Angel  
6 Until The Day I Die  
7 Cry Me A River  
8 Lonely Avenue  
9 Eleanor Rigby  
10 I Just Want To Make Love To You  
11 Since I Looked In Your Eyes  
Video Robin McKelle Mess Around
Robin McKelle Live Session for Jazz FM
Robin McKelle & the Flytones - Stax Soul Session - 1
Robin McKelle - Lyla

On her newest release: Mess Around, Robin McKelle's warm contralto surrounds a first class rhythm 'n' blues record. After two albums devoted to big-band jazz and swing - Introducing Robin McKelle (2006) and Modern Antique (2008), Mess Around is a departure drawing from artists and groups such as The Bee Gees, Leonard Cohen, Doc Pomus, Willie Dixon and The Beatles. The aesthetic choices lend a wealth of meaning and consistency to the session, led by McKelle.

4 New ON this week: 163 Total
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