Okayplayer Records To Release Jennah Bell ‘Live at Mother NY’ EP
New York, NY – (Dec 5 2012) Okayplayer Records is proud to announce the release of Live at Mother NY, the sophomore EP from bright, beautiful newcomer Jennah Bell. Recorded at Mother’s unique performance space on a proverbial hot August night, the three-piece live recording captures Bell’s singular style, anchored by folk and soul while weaving gracefully through undertones of r&b, rock, dub, and even early country. Bell’s knockout voice is on clear display, but Live at Mother also reveals Bell’s gifts as a thoughtful, elegant songwriter and a truly unique talent.
In 2005 at the age of 16, Jennah Bell attended the GRAMMY™ foundation’s summer program where she interacted with greats such as David Foster, Jimmy Jam, and Paul Williams. This memorable experience put Jennah on a course that lead her to the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. It was there where she honed her skills as a songwriter, with opportunities such as working under the tutelage of the legendary Paul Simon. Jennah Bell’s release of a live EP so early in her career is a testament to how far she has already come. She explains, “I didn’t expect to release a live EP, but you can’t put a rewind on life. When we listened back, we realized there are so many good moments from that show that can’t be recreated. And when people hear the live recording, that’s me being me. What better way to introduce myself?”
There is a sunny youthfulness that permeates Live at Mother NY, but it is anchored by remarkable depth and intricacy. The smoldering “Rock Me” is just one example, as it distills Bell’s style down to its folk and soul pillars, evoking Joanna Newsome as much as Erykah Badu. Lead single “John Forbid” embodies the grace of Bell’s songwriting, as she sings not just about heartbreak, but about the wisdom that carries you through it. When a 23 year old laments, “we were too young to live this old…” the line itself is worthy of Sinatra or Aretha. On hearing Bell sing it with such conviction, a moment of disbelief registers alongside the amazement.
“That song sort of wrote itself,” Bell explains. “There are very few times that I can just sit down and write a full song. With that song, it was correlating to something I was going through, realizing that you can’t control people’s places and stages in their lives when you meet them.” Even as Bell chats between sets, her hands twinkle along the guitar, whispering short melodies and sweet little interludes. These are small moments, to be sure, but they betray the depth of Bell’s musicality, to say nothing of her charm.
Taken as a whole, Live at Mother NY delivers a rare sort of magic, the sort where an artist’s intangible gifts – the timbre that makes her voice memorable, the vibe that makes her music soul – are as apparent as her obvious talents. “I saw an interview with Ray Bradbury about how you create a proper storyline,” Bell says, “and he had this image of picking lights out of the air. You don’t know when you’re seeing them, you just know when you’re touching them.” Few artists make such graceful music anymore, but fewer still combine their disparate influences with as much imagination and with such remarkable ease.
Jennah was the only unsigned artist to perform at this year’s BET Awards (as part of their Music Matters program) where she peformed her song “Chapter 3: The Hatchet.” Jennah Bell is from Oakland, California.
Early Praise for Jennah Bell:
“At 23, she already sounds polished and unique” – Clutch Magazine
“Bell’s music emanates warmth, honest emotion and imagination…an experimental lo-fi soul sound all her own.” – 38th notes
Live at Mother NY Track List:
(Out Dec 18 2012 via Okayplayer Records)
01 – Phoenix Lights
02 – Yes, This Is A Hold Up.
03 – Chapter 3: The Hatchet
04 – The Undertaker
05 – Rock Me
06 – John Forbid
07 – Monster Killer (Studio Bonus)