Single Of The Week: Deva Mahal – Wicked (DJ Spen & Reelsoul Extended Remix) (Quantize)
What is a remix if not a reinterpretation of a piece of music to bring it into a new perspective / environment?!? Now, you tell me. Almost everybody’s able to do this with the help of today’s tools. Sure thang, except the fact that not everybody has the capacity to do it the way DJ Spen and Reelsoul did. Simply (if I may say so) because none of us has their sensibility, their background or their know how… Which is wicked and somehow reassuring as the machines will never replace the human upbringing at the end.
In Deva Mahal, we got Deva for “Diva”. And Mahal as a parental link to Blues luminary and film composer Taj Mahal who happens to be her dad.
A quick listen to the original version of ‘Wicked’, from the lady’s ‘Run Deep’ album gets us to realize how we’re in front of an emerging talent. And I would tend to suppose that’s exactly how Spen and Reelsoul have felt when they got to hear her singin’ for the first time.
The brilliance is definitely around with ‘Wicked’ delivering such an uplifting message. And Spen and Reelsoul comin’ up with a true masterpiece. With thanks to these instantly identifiable keyboard arrangements that have been for so much on the establishment of Reelsoul‘s signature…
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– Deva Mahal was born with the music (and more precisely the Blues) in her blood. And how could this has ever been different when your dad is none other but Taj Mahal. And a mom, a dancer, artist and educator who she refers to as “her rock”?!?
The first thing that catches the attention when listening to her singin’ isn’t only the singular tone of her voice. But also the depth of her performances. With the whole for much in this style of hers pretty much unique and getting the listener in a query for some encore. Meanwhile seeing the lady growing her Blues roots through the fertile soil of modern R&B, Indie-Pop, Soul, Rock and Gospel. Such as brilliantly illustrated on her freshly squeezed ‘Run Deep’ album. But also on one of its highlights – ‘Wicked’ – with alternative remixes courtesy of DJ Spen and Reelsoul.
“Every experience in life leaves a mark”, Deva sums up on her website. “When you are bullied and treated like you don’t belong. Or faced with great adversity at a young age, you learn ways to cope”, she says. “Music gave me an outlet to express the pain of those experiences and the strength to challenge racial, physical and gender stereotypes.”
– William Rodriquez III found his early influences in the wide rage of musical sounds and styles which his dad introduced him to. From Cerrone to Loose Ends. Not to mention the various tones of Hip-Hop and Dance Music that surrounded him.
An avid collector of 45’s by the age of 4, this experience continued to have an expression for Will‘s creative outlet. By the age of 10, he taught himself by ear to play the keyboard. His cousin bringin’ his attention to Deep House cuts from labels such as Strictly Rhythm and Nervous. And a year after, he eventually started spinnin’. Nurturin’ his craft musical arrangements across the board from Hip-Hop, Rare Groove & Underground House Parties.
By 1992, Will was making beats with two tape decks and a keyboard. This rich musical assortment continued to thrive on his passion for production. As he continued to advance himself in the art of making music so did his sound. His rich soulful debut, ‘Take Me To A Place’ found a home on Frankie Feliciano‘s Ricanstruction label.
He quickly followed with a string of releases for various labels, meanwhile establishing an instantly recognizable signature. Therefore turnin’ countless jams into essential cuts. From The Laybouts & Pete Simpson‘s ‘Thank You’ to Soul: ID‘s ‘Believe’. But also Marc Cotterell‘s ‘Into The Light’. Or Diephuis featuring Jocelyn Brown‘s ‘Don’t Quit’. Not to mention Sterling Ensemble featuring Lee Wilson‘s ‘Everybody’ to name a few. Then Deva Mahal‘s ‘Wicked’ that’s seen him sharing the duties with Quantize Recordings label head DJ Spen…
As a matter of fact, it’s as if everybody wanted to have something of Reelsoul these days. Such as Dihann Moore with her revamp of ‘True To Yourself’ on Makin Moves…
No surprisingly, Reelsoul also crafted masterpieces under his own banner. Beginning with the memorable ‘For The Love Of You’ featuring Kyra back in 2010 on MN2S. And ‘Get Myself Together’ on his recently launched Reelsoul Musik label.
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