Soul queen Gizelle Smith returns with new single
by Andrew Mason
In 2008, Gizelle Smith stormed from relative obscurity onto the funk scene as the front woman of Hamburg-based band the Mighty Mocambos.
Born and raised in Manchester, the child of a Seychellois mother and a father who was a band-member of the legendary Four Tops, Gizelle had a multicultural upbringing steeped in soulful music. Her first single “Working Woman” with the Mighty Mocambos became an overnight smash and a prime-time club favorite of funk and soul DJs worldwide, leading legendary producer Kenny Dope to remix the song for his own Kay Dee Records. The album that followed, This Is Gizelle Smith and the Mighty Mocambos, was released in 2009, followed by solo singles “June” released on Record Kicks in 2009 and “Johnny” on Mocambo in 2012. After a five-year hiatus, Smith is finally back with new recorded material, a double-A-side single ahead of a new album slated for release March 30, 2018. The record sees her moving on from the classic sound of her debut album, as she’s expanded her musical palette to incorporate more psychedelic and jazzy progressions, bold arrangements, and more adventurous instrumentation.
“Sweet Memories” announces her return with a bang and really showcases Smith’s vocal range and control, coupling her layered harmonies and powerful topline acrobatics over a funky backdrop of tasteful guitar, solid bass, and tight drums. Flitting between honey-dripped soul during the verses before a full-on frontal funk assault from the chorus, it’s a treat from the first note to the last.
The bouncing “S.T.A.Y.” on the flipside is aimed squarely at the modern-soul crowd with a groove that wouldn’t be out of place on an Isley Brothers or Gil Scott-Heron LP. Soul man extraordinaire and respected Stones Throw Records alumni Eric Boss also gets in on the action, contributing accompanying vocals. The uplifting and positive message of this song is the sunshine to the rainy day of “Sweet Memories.” There’s something in this single for listeners whatever the weather.
“Sweet Memories” b/w “S.T.A.Y.” will be available on 7-inch vinyl and digital formats December 1, 2017, via Jalapeno Records.
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