News Column

Terri Walker Strips Down to Basics

June 14, 2013

Dave Freak

The tour goes under the banner of Soul Acoustic and aims to showcase the best of a new generation of soul-inspired UK talent, performing with minimal accompaniment. Headliner Terri Walker is relishing the prospect.

When you're with a full band you sometimes feel you're fighting against them, but when you perform like this you can hear all the colours in your voice, says the Londoner.

I actually prefer performing like this. It's easy for me, so much easier. When you play acoustically you can play around with the song a bit more - it's freer.

Among those joining her on the seven-date jaunt are Labrinth's elder sister SheZar, Ms D, and the Rita Ora-approved Shakka.

SheZar used to sing with me, she used to be part of my band, says Terri. She has such a voice, such energy, she's a true artist. When you hear her sing, you can hear she's from church, she has that in her voice, and she can sure belt out those vocals! Ms D I've only heard about over the last few years, she's been working with Chipmunk and Wiley and I love her voice, it's beautiful, it's pure, such a soaring voice. Shakka? He's got a great voice and a great personality - it really comes through when he performs live.

When you think of soul you think of the whole band thing, which is so funky, but when you think of singer-songwriters, you tend to think of that indie side. They're not in the same category, so it's refreshing to see singer songwriters - soul singer songwriters - doing it like this. It'll be beautiful.

Terri's career has seen her work as a solo artist, serial collaborator (Shanks and Bigfoot, Toddla T, Artful) and even backing singer, lending her vocal tones to such heavyweights as Cee-Lo, Jennifer Hudson, Nas, Jamie Cullum and Duran Duran.

It was surreal, walking in and seeing Simon Le Bon and the band all there, she says of the experience of working with Duran Duran. But they were so nice. I wasn't big enough, so they didn't know who I was, but they were so lovely! Among Terri's most recent collaborations are a yet-to-be-released album with producer Salaam Remi, which combines elements of soul, bossa nova and easy listening, and Lady, which sees her sharing vocal duties with US singer Nicole Wray for a seamless melding of '60s soul and modern R&B.

I met Nicole in 2009-2010 in the States, and we just got on, says Terri of the project which has resulted in the self-titled album, Lady. I was working with [producers] Truth and Soul and invited her to the sessions. From there, everything was just organic - we both write and sing 24/7, that's what we do. From there we just hung out with the guys, drank whiskey and talked.

Truth and Soul have worked with Aloe Blacc's, they did I Need A Dollar and that album, and have worked with Charles Bradley - they make that type of music. Me and Nicole came from the R&B soul world; they're mostly into that Motown/Stax/old-school soul ... we added new school.

With a CV that spans jazz, pop, garage, hip hop and dance, Terri is clearly passionate about music - all music.

Influences, for me, it's all old school: Chaka Khan, Anita Baker, Ella Fitzgerald, Whitney Houston, Luther Vandross ... but now also people like Disclosure, I love the vocals, and Rudimental, they've been working with some amazing vocalists, like Ella Eyre (Waiting All Night), and Jessie Ware. The music is electronic but the vocals are soulful ... if the vocals are soulful I'm in there, I'm involved!, she says.

I love music, I love it - great vocals, great melodies, great compositions - it's really exciting. Every way I can get involved, whether it's enhancing someone else's track or doing my own. I love it, I always have.

I'm going to keep doing this until I'm 102. Then I might take a break, but only for a bit. Music will be part of my life forever. The tour comes to the Glee Club in Castle Wharf tonight. Doors open at 7.30pm. Tickets are Pounds 6, call 0871 472 0400 or go to www.glee.co.uk/nottingham.

'I love music, I love it - great vocals, great melodies, great compositions - it's really exciting. Every way I can get involved, whether it's enhancing someone else's track or doing my own. I love it, I always have

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