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Robin McKelle: Bio

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. In her live performances, she exudes a bandleader's moxie that recalls the Rat Pack era.  While comparisons to Ella Fitzgerald are common because of her warm alto voice, her early influences were mostly Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner and Janis Joplin.  McKelle's voice mirrors the power of those three vocal titans while maintaining the refined nuances of Fitzgerald.  In her early days, McKelle shared the stage with such prestigious artists as Michael McDonald and Bobby McFerrin.

McKelle's seminal album Introducing Robin McKelle featuring the vocalist performing a list of standards of the jazz repertoire afront a big band, was released in 2006.  This release was followed by 2008's big band release Modern Antique.  2010's Mess Around featured McKelle with a paired down ensemble and a repertoire running the gamut from jazz to soul to pop. 

Soul Flower, Merry Christmas Vol. 1 and Heart of Memphis featured McKelle's hard-partying ensemble The Flytones Led by bassist and co-producer Derek Nievergelt.  On these releases, McKelle amps the grit to 11, displaying her versatility on a wide array of material.  2016's The Looking Glass was McKelle's first album of all original material.  McKelle's Melodic Canvas saw a turning point for the vocalist.  "Tackling tough subject matter including politics, faith and more, McKelle's Melodic Canvas offers listeners a timely social commentary with a rich, soulful sound. Blending elements of blues, jazz, gospel and soul, the album is an inspired work of pure, aural bliss" (Eponymous Review)

There's an insightful storyteller's voice that connects her songs, a narrative thread that feels smart and soulful. In her songwriting and in the arrangements/production of the album, she mixes her varied influences together with strength and grace.

1 So It Goes
2 Tell You One Thing
3 Nothing's Really Changed
4 Fairytale Ending
5 Miss You Madly
6 Don't Give Up
7 Walk On By
8 To Love Somebody
9 Change
10 I'm Ready
11 Love's Work
12 I'm A Fool To Want You
Robin McKelle - EPK Soul Flower
Robin McKelle Live Session for Jazz FM
Robin McKelle & the Flytones - Stax Soul Session - 1
Robin McKelle - Lyla

Robin McKelle might have called this album The Real McKelle. "It's the record I've always dreamed of making. Not that there was anything stopping me in the past, it's simply that things panned out differently." The singer herself wrote most of the songs on this new production, a contemporary blend of soul and rhythm 'n' blues that avoids today's retro tendencies. "I love that music so much that I couldn't see myself doing something ‘in the style of…". I grew up listening to Nina Simone and Gladys Knight. I sang their classics and what I enjoy most today is building my own repertoire in that same soulful vein." Soul Flower mainly consists of original tracks along with a few covers, including an upbeat Walk On By.  

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