Classics: The Realm feat. Tony Momrelle – Time (Frankie Feliciano Classic Vocal Mix) (Papa Records)
The Realm: A kingdom / A field or domain of activity or interest. Origins: Middle English rewme, from Old French reaume, from Latin regimen ‘government’ (see regimen). The spelling with -l- (standard from c 1600) was influenced by Old French reiel ‘royal’ (* Oxforddictionaries)
Good time… That’s most likely what’s up on this mesmerizing gem. And how could it be ever different at the end from such a reunion of talents? With The Realm on one side. In others words, Oli Lazarus (Reel People), Toni Economides and Pete Kuzma, along with UK first league singer Tony Momrelle. Then Frankie Feliciano in charge of the remix duties on the other? And what a blowin’ rework he did as a matter of fact. Pretty much syncopating the whole with firing keys over a bumpin’ bassline, meanwhile bringin’ Momrelle‘s phrasing to another level.
Funny to notice as to how ‘Time’ is pretty much illustrative of the label’s politics in terms of artist development. “Where do we go from here? Let’s leavin’ up the time, then we will see things clear…”
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– The Realm appeared in the mid 2000’s as the reunion between Oli Lazarus (Reel People), Toni Economides and Pete Kuzma. Alterning productions with remixes, they remain synonymous with top quality material. Among their highlights, their remix of DJ Spinna feat. Tricia Angus‘s ‘Living My Life’ back in 2007. But also the brilliant ‘The Realm’ featuring Darien, the year after. Not to mention their rework of ‘Love Is Where You Are’ featuring Tony Momrelle. And how to not take notice of its follow-up, ‘Take You There’? Frankie Feliciano remixing ‘Time’ for them back in 2011 as a part of his ‘Messages Vol. 7’ mixed comp. Meawnhile 2014 saw them releasing the deep and vibrant ‘Love U Now’ featuring Damon C. Scott.
On a low profile since then, are we to be hearin’ from The Realm soon? Time will tell…
– Thank God for the friend who, nearly 20 years ago, persuaded a young Tony Momrelle to visit the Olympic Studios in Barnes, South London and contribute a few backing vocals. Momrelle was 18 and well on his way with a Youth Training Scheme in the car industry. Music being something of a sideline…
Momrelle picks the story up. “I was looking at a career in marketing. I had been messing around in a Hip-Hop band. And a few people knew I could sing. I wasn’t convinced though about travelling across London for a random job I knew nothing about. Of course I did go down to Barnes and there was Gloria Estefan in the studio waiting for me.”
They call that a baptism of fire. As a professional singer, Momrelle was straight in at the deep end. But Estefan liked what she heard and soon there were other lucrative offers of session work. “I got the pay cheque for my work with Gloria and I was blown away. Then I realised that maybe I could make a serious go of singing. I was still aware of the risk but, for me, it was worth taking. I’ve never looked back.”
Tony is another of those effortlessly talented artists with a family upbringing stepped in music and entertainment. He started studying music from the age of just 8 and would embrace Gospel through regular church attendance. At 13, he’d switch to “part-time” rapping with a local Hip-Hop group five years before fatefully meeting Estefan.
Since then he’s been touring with the biggest and best. His association with Estefan has been rather impressively followed by work for Whitney Houston, Sir Elton John, Take That and most recently Sade.
Let’s not forget neither Momrelle‘s long and fruitful association with bastion of live soulful groove, Incognito. His consistently tip-top vocals on the road impressed the band’s main man Jean-Paul ‘Bluey’ Maunick to the extend of offering him a spot. Not only on the band’s 2002 album ‘Life Stranger Than Fiction’. But also on their their relentless international tour dates.
“I was very fortunate to land with Incognito. It was all word of mouth. I would have started touring with them even earlier than I did but there were issues with my visa. Bluey remembered me though and brought me in. It was amazing to be recognised in that way.”
As if it wasn’t enough, Momrelle also managed to find the time to record with Gospel group Seven. Eventually takin’ the lead on the 2007 album ‘Message In The Music’ by the likes of Austrian band LBB (Lungau Big Band).
Touring the world for Sade, supporting Incognito. But also driving momentum for Reel People, fronting the band everywhere, from Europe to Japan… No wonder how 15 years have gone from the release of his first album – ‘Freetime’ – back in 1998 on Art & Soul and its follow-up – ‘Message In The Music’ – on P-Vine via Reel People Music, 15 years later…
Tony Momrelle is a pretty good example as to how artist development remains possible in the underground sphere. A compulsory process speakin’ of which Oli Lazarus & Co. have widely shown their savoir faire at Reel People Music, one release after another…
As a result, Tony Momrelle‘s ‘affair’ with Reel People Music stands as an already impressive collection of absolute must haves. From ‘Amazing’ along with Reel People and Imaani back in 2008 to the ever shining ‘Love Is Where You Are’. But also the jazzy Latinesque ‘Time’ with The Realm which Frankie Feliciano remixed a couple of years after. And how about the Stevie Wonder-ish ‘Golden Lady’ with remix courtesy of Louie Vega? Then the infectious ‘Pick Me Up’ again with Reel People. And we could also add ‘This Could Be Us’ as remixed by The Layabouts. Not to mention the classy ‘All The Things You Are’ which Louie Vega happened to rework as well. Then more recently DJ Spinna‘s Galactic Soul Remix of ‘Love Me Again’ to name just a few…
– Coming from a background rich in music and culture, it is no wonder that Frankie Feliciano has become one of the House Music community’s most respected denizens. Living in Brooklyn, Frankie grew up in home filled with music. His grandfather was a musician in Puerto Rico. And his father regularly played and sang in bands in New York.
As an adolescent in the early 80’s, he got exposed to the vibrant Hip-Hop culture that was exploding all over New York City. He then soon convinced his parents to buy him some DJ gear. That would be the genesis of Frankie‘s DJ career… A 14 year old, cutting, scratching and mimicking what he heard at block parties and on underground Hip-Hop radio shows.
Frankie got soon after into House Music through his older cousins who were regulars at The Paradise Garage. Meanwhile, his first club-going experience was at Hearthrobs’s, whose resident was a then relatively unknown ‘Little’ Louie Vega. As Frankie continued to develop as a DJ, he took his inspiration from giants such as Shep Pettibone, Tony Humphries and Timmy Regisford.
After a brief stint working in promotions at Strictly Rhythm Records in 1990, he moved into DJing and producing full time. His first serious paid gig being at none other than the Ministry Of Sound in London.
Frankie is a superb DJ, who built himself a reputation for his brilliant programming and technical skills. He is an amazing producer whose works have garnered him acclaim for years. He’s produced gems as ‘Don’t Ever Give Up’, ‘The Real Thing’, ‘Hindsight’ and ‘Invitation”. And delivered top class remixes of anthems. From Kenny Bobien (‘Father’) to DJ Gregory (‘Elle’) and Ernest Saint Laurent (‘We Are One’). To Jon Cutler & Eman (‘It’s Yours’), MAW feat. Lynae (‘Life Is But A Dream’) and Reel People feat. Darien (‘Sure’). But also Matthew Bandy & Josh Milan (‘Wish’) and DeepCitySoul feat. Darryl D’Bonneau (‘Peace’). Not to mention The Real feat. Tony Momrelle (‘Time’) or Jonny Montana Dawn & Williams (‘New Me’). And, more recently, Kyle ‘Small’ Smith feat Krystal Dixon‘s ‘Innocent Kind’.
Besides, Frankie also appeared on a myriad of cameo guises. Venturing into Jazz/House territories as Gigolo Supreme with cuts such as ‘After The Storm’, ‘City Life’ and ‘Gigolo’s Anthem’. But also teamin’ up with Carol Sylvan on ‘Keep Reaching’ as Halo. Or with Kenny Bobien with ‘My Joy’ as Nulife.
Frankie crossed borders and reached new heights as an innovator in a now full digital world. He has been one of the first to embrace mp3’s as a viable medium for Dance Music.