Beady Belle - "Dedication" release April 2018
With "Dedication", Beady Belle has drawn together all the threads of inspiration at the core of who she is and has woven a brand new tapestry that is vibrant, organic, energetic, cool, emotional, intimate, and unequivocally funky. Soul and R&B have always been close to Beady Belle's heart, and with "Dedication", she is fully immersed in these twin worlds. "I associate this music with the 70's," she says. "It's recorded live with old, original instruments. Raw and unpolished. With the groove as an unstoppable engine. It's a tribute to my great heroes - Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway and Aretha Franklin, while there are whispers of younger Soul artists like Alicia Keys, Raphael Saadiq, Lauryn Hill and Frank Ocean."
The title, "Dedication", refers to the most important thing in life - at any given time - as you go through hell and high water to achieve it. It is the battle that requires full dedication to win. But winning is never guaranteed ... The prize can be a breath of happiness, a sigh of relief, a roaring victory or a restful calm. The road ahead often seems darker than it really is as the goal ahead shines so brightly. But if an honest path is found, and one is true to oneself, that shining objective may not be so far away after all. The roads to Rome are many ...
"Dedication" is in many ways a continuation of the previous album, "On my own" (2016). The organic live feeling there has been developed further here, but now with a clear step closer to Soul and with the driving rhythm and groove solidly placed centre-stage. Beady Belle writes - and has always written - pop music. She conjures catchy and intuitive melodies, while at the same time adds deliberate - and sometimes intricate – themes and musical depth. But the dress of her music has varied and developed in accordance with the fluctuations that have affected her life along the way.
The lyrical themes are also carried forward from the previous release, where all the songs were about "otherness," about being different, standing on the outside and not knowing how to get in. About not fitting in where you are supposed to feel at home.
Beady Belle also began a process of introspection and self-examination after a close family member's health drastically changed. Discovering new challenges in the fresh perspective on life this brought, it became therapeutic to convey her experiences and thoughts in her lyrics and music, and in turn, the songs could perhaps give others courage and comfort.
Beady Belle's music has moved from a rather clubby Neo soul to Electronics Inspiration, through Nashville-inspired Country and Jazz. But her love for Soul and R & B has coloured all the songs. "Honesty is the key in all the words and music I've written. On all my records, I'm searching for a core that is close to my heart, but this changes as life goes and I change. What was me before may not be me anymore. Therefore, my music has always changed character from release to release - but always with a clear signature from my heart. There is always something open, revealing in it."
Beady Belle often writes songs with surprising juxtapositions of lyric and melody: the lyrics and melody often seems to be from opposite moods. Jamie Cullum once said, "Your song is a real mindfuck". It occurs when, for example, you are drawn to your feet to dance and sing along to a joyful tune that lyrically is about something downbeat and serious. Should you cry or laugh? Beady Belle finds great inspiration and power in this dichotomy. "Contrasts and duality are the stuff of life," she says, "I rarely feel that something is purely either joyous or sad. And smiling through tears is an expression of the strongest emotions. I want to write music and words that convey this."
* * *
Music, lyrics, production, lead vocals: Beady Belle
Prophet 5, Minimoog, Juno 60, Arp, Fender Rhodes, Clavinet, Hammond organ, grand piano, electric guitar, auto harp and glockenspiel: David Wallumrød
Drums, shaker and tambourine: Bjørn Sæther
Electric bass: Marius Reksjø
Backing vocals: LaDonna Harley-Peters Sharlene Hector and Vula Malinga - LaSharVu
Percussion: Martin Windstad
Electric sitar: Bjørn Charles Dreyer
REVIEWS AND QUOTATION
(...)Beady Belle made a favourable impression with the critics (this one included) on the strength of 2001's debut "Home". (...) this new album isn't as immediate, but it does reward the listeners tenfold with repeated listening.(...)"Big balloon"(...) is breathtakingly beautiful.(...)Lech's fluid, expressive voice and intelligent, almost poetic lyrics are superbly complemented by Reksjo's adroit and imaginative arrangements. (...)"Cewbeagappic" is a real gem and represents a quantum leap forward for Beady belle.
(Blues and soul magasin, UK, May 2003)
"(...) Good voice, good pop licks, great bottomy bass lines - should be played in the trendiest bars in town"
(Northern echo, London 2001)
"(...) This magnificent Norwegian offering deserves to be descovered big-time by fans of 4-Hero, Brand New Heavies etc (...) Musically wide but well put together.(...) Discover!"
(DJ, London May 19th 2001)
"(...) Home, a cool, slick and instantly appealing blend of jazz and soul blend, which also draws on drum & bass, r&b, and techno to fuel a scintillating album. (...) an album which all too sadly will probably not get the attention it deserves"
(Observer, London April 5th 2001)
"(...) 'Home' benefits from some of the best standards of production that nu-jazz has to offer."
(Capital Live, London March 9th 2001)
"The shiny-eyed female on the album sleeve, and the protagonists' Norwegian nationality suggest another loopy, frosted Scandinavian diva. Inside, though, there's a continental shift in another direction: the sultry, bittersweetness of Germany's Billie Ray Martin, and dance's smoothest influences (jazz-funk, drum'n'bass, garage, ambient). (...) despite Lech's suave, white-soul touch (...) a reliefe from the relentlessly sassy persona of Stateside divahood. (...) Ironically, if Carey herself released 'Lose and Win' it would be a certainty for a US Number 1 Hit"
(Q, London 2001)
"The Underground Sound of Oslo really is the new hip. Slinky, sexy and modern, it's groovetastic jazz that takes in the old and the new, drum'n'bass and ambient dance and proper jazz (...) Beady Belle (...) is delicious nu-jazz, sophisticated and chic."
(D Express, London March 31st 2001)
"(...) Beady Belle has hardly been out of my CD player since I acquired it (...) this Oslo based duo has alchemised the disparate elements of pop, acid jazz, soul, dance and new age music into a unique, ineffable whole. The end result is a intoxicating concoction of grooves and moods that moves both the body and mind. The focal point of the duo's music is the sinuous, expressive vocals of Beate Lech, who as well as posessing a gift for contriving infectious melodies and memorable hook lines, writes enigmatic lyrics that verge on the poetical with their use of oblique metaphors and disturbing imagery. (...) Reksjø invents some wonderfully fluid rhythm tracks bolstered by sinewy bass lines and unusual instrumentation. (...) Highly addictive and strongly recomanded."
(Blues & Soul, London 2001)
"Beady Belle is (...) a brilliant beauty. (...) Beady Belle is painfully good. (...) Beate S. Lech has not only gives us beautiful vocals and lovely harmonies, but (...) also subtle lyrics. (...) The 27-year-old has definitely not wasted the talent that the music milieu has remarked for a long time. (...) Scholar and clever, but still unpolished and rough. (...) The arrangements are surprising, the rhythms are elegant and gentle, but still modern and infectious."
(Dagens Næringsliv, Norway February 3rd 2001)
"Bugge Wesseltoft, (...) and Beate Lech are among the Norwegian musicians that in (...) the newspaper Libération are given the honour of making Oslo a musical capital like London and Paris. (...) Beady Belle (...) an unexpected mixture of Björk and Sade." (Aftenposten, Norway December 29th 2000)