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Today’s Morning Edition Music is from Pavielle singing the Prince Classic “I Would Die For U” at a block Party Thursday night outside First Avenue in Minneapolis.
Thousands of fans turned out to honor the music icon.
PaviElle was one of a number of local artists who played Prince songs for the crowd who sang and danced along. Then, the party moved inside First Avenue for an all-night dance party.
Brace yourselves, Twin Cities, because another conquering diva is about to storm our beaches. PaviElle French is poised to own 2015 like Lizzo did a few years back, and it’s time to welcome our brassy new boss. French has been honing her show with a monthly residency series at Icehouse for the last year, blowing away folks who just walked in for a cocktail with a whiplash-inducing voice. Expect her to make the jump from Wednesday night to the weekend if she keeps performing like this.
French’s band is made up of longtime collaborators and a few familiar faces from the Secret Stash Records family, including Sonny Knight’s horn section. They churn out a groovy mixture of neo-soul and dumpstaphunk with the occasional trace of virtuosic jazz. Percussionist Ahanti Young and backing vocalist/hype man Tai-yo provided a great charisma boost for the already-charming French, whose theater background brings a welcome flair for the dramatic and a vivacious and inviting confidence. The drum-tight musicianship shone as well, with all the seamless transitions and snappy synchronized hits that seem to be the calling card of Secret Stash-related groups, plus a few eye-popping conga solos from Young.
Nearly every song was vamped into a call-and-response pattern with the crowd, while Tai-yo and French commanded the stage with the presence of a trained MC, rather than just R&B singers. By the time she wrapped up the show with an uplifting musical tribute to her dearly departed parents, French had us in the palm of her hand. It’s extremely gratifying to see any rising artist command this level of respect, but the turn takes on additional importance when one considers the context.
French is making her stand in a decidedly afrocentric, contemporary idiom. Compared to Sonny Knight’s eminently lovable and deeply cultural material, the music created by French and her band is sexier, deeper, and far more outspoken. Get on the bandwagon now while there’s still seats left.
For the grand finale of #Current10, which came at the end of an action-packed 10-day run of events, hometown heroes Atmosphere, Virginia blues-rockers J. Roddy Walston and the Business, legendary surf quartet the Trashmen, and burgeoning soul artist PaviElle pulled out all the stops to give the First Avenue crowd an unforgettable evening.
PaviElle and her eight-piece band–which includes her brother Ahanti Young and cousin O. Tiyo Siyolo singing back-up vocals, a full horn section, the prodigious jazz keyboardist Ted Godbout, and the producer of her debut album, Casey O’Brien, on bass—came out of the gate swinging, first with a scintillating cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” and then her bouncy, funky “Runnin.’” From the moment PaviElle’s booming, commanding, and acrobatic voice rang out into the room she had the audience in the palm of her hand, and the crowd’s astonishment and adoration was palpable.
“Audience, prepare thyselves. Pavielle ’bout to blow your socks off,” I tweeted as the singer took the stage. A few songs later, a fan replied: “Yeah, I think my socks ended up on the balcony.”
PaviElle puts in work up on that stage, and she kept a towel within reach to dab the sweat off her brow as she dug deeper into each new groove and compelled the audience to move along with her. Anytime PaviElle wasn’t singing her heart out she was scanning the audience with a look of utter disbelief, at one point confessing, “I’m feeding off of you guys, you know that right? Let me feel your energy!”
PaviElle French skips the handshake and goes right for the hug. The dynamic performer we suddenly can’t stop hearing about has her hair wrapped neatly in a blue silk scarf atop her head, and she’s bundled in a tightly zipped red coat.
This passionate greeting is emblematic of the poet, playwright, and soul singer’s artistry. She is no-frills, no-bullshit, and empowered to the core.
“My mom raised us to be very strong,” she recalls. “She was a very strong woman, and she just really didn’t play that shit.” When her mother fell ill several years ago, PaviElle felt fate work in strange ways as she applied what she’d learned in nursing school to caring for her mother in her final days. “She’s like, I know I’m dying, but nothing stops. You have to continue on. You can mourn, but you can’t let it take over your life.”
Read the full article here: http://blogs.citypages.com/gimmenoise/2015/01/pavielle_interview.php
Review: Saturday’s lineup tested seven newbies, ranging from a neo-soul singer to a glam synth-pop band.
Poetic neo-soul singer/songwriter PaviElle French gave the night’s breakthrough performance. Playing to mostly young indie-rock fans who weren’t even sure how to pronounce her name – her male back-up singers took care of that by chanting it – the St. Paul native turned heads as she stretched her deep, powerful pipes in the long, steady-grooving epic “Runnin’.” Her tight, slow-funk-wins-the-race band made a strong impression, too, including bassist Casey O’Brien and horn players Tony Beaderstadt and Cole Pulice, all from Sonny Knight’s Lakers.
While she frequently throws in cool rock covers that might’ve earned her easy applause in this case — including a Fleetwood Mac cover that would’ve been the second of the night – French stuck to her original tunes, and wisely so. The emotional peak of her set, “Disbelief,” definitively laid out the positive, powerful messages she stands for. Before walking off stage, she seemed to sense the triumphant vibe and thanked her late mother and father for the inspiration as if she had just won an Oscar. There was no acting in this case, though.
Read the full article here: http://www.vita.mn/crawl/289039931.html?page=all
PaviElle French knows that when an African-American musician takes the stage, many people expect an entertaining show that will make them move.
But French, a neo soul singer and composer who is attracting a wide following in the Twin Cities, has a different goal in mind. She aims to honor her black heritage, in ways that may not please anyone with that one-dimensional vision of African-Americans.
“The black aesthetic, for me, is James Brown — ‘I’m black and I’m proud,'” she said. “It is Marcus Garvey. Whether it was music or art or entertainment, it was always in protest. It was being real about our world as black Americans in this country.”
Read the full article here: http://www.mprnews.org/story/2015/01/14/pavielle-french
I’ve written a lot this year about how smitten I am with PaviElle’s debut solo album, Fear Not, but her work this year has extended far beyond the song she sings on that wonderful release. At her show at the Pillsbury House this winter for their Naked Stages program, PaviElle bared all and brought the audience through a wide range of emotions, from grief to joy, anger to hopefulness, and pressed the audience to question their preconceived notions about race. Much like Toki Wright, PaviElle speaks fearlessly about race relations, the history of her culture, and her devotion to the past and future of soul music, and she’s established herself as an essential voice for both truth-seeking and singing.
Read the full article here: http://blog.thecurrent.org/2014/12/minnesota-weird-10-players-who-pushed-boundaries-in-2014/
After making a name for herself as a soul singer, the St. Paul native is ready to tell her story in a one-woman show.
To most of us, this would sound like a dream come true: “I basically went to Hawaii and sat on the beach for a year straight.”
When PaviElle French said it, though, the dream was laced with tragedy and personal drama.
“I really was just running,” the St. Paul singer and actor said, echoing the title of her new one-woman show opening this weekend at Pillsbury House Theatre in Minneapolis.
A wrap to what has proved to be French’s breakout year, “Runnin’ ” follows the September release of the St. Paul native’s emotionally wracked debut solo record, “Fear Not.” She built up to the record’s release earlier in the year with a once-a-month residency at Minneapolis’ Icehouse supper club, featuring her buoyant eight-man band that includes members of Sonny Knight’s Lakers.
Read full article here: http://www.startribune.com/entertainment/music/285521141.html
It seems that St. Paul soul songbird, PaviElle French, is somewhat of an overnight sensation.
To those who know the career path of French, to call her an “overnight sensation” might be a bit odd, considering the 29-year-old singer, writer and composer has been performing since she was just 5 years old. But with the release of her most recent single, “Be Right There,” French has become somewhat of a media darling and there’s talk of her being the next big thing to come out of the Twin Cities since … well, let’s just say she’s receiving the royal treatment.