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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