Having played in over 170 cities in 28 countries across the globe since the early 2000s, Beady Belle's live performances reflect a growth and adaptation, of her artistry as a whole, while each performance sees the continuing development of songs. No two Beady Belle concerts are the same, but at the same time an identifiably "Beady Belle groove" is always present, giving each individual happening a firm but flexible backbone. However, the jewel in this crown is always Beady Belle's luscious voice, plush as velvet, hypnotic and seductive, but capable of soaring and tearing through the atmosphere with powerful intensity, both raw and emotive.
"The live stage is a natural arena for me, and it's also an extension of the creative process," she says. "I don't want the music to remain static, unchanged and unchanging. I don't want to simply 'perform the record' over and over. I want the songs to breathe and grow, to find new ways of retelling themselves to the audience – and to myself!" In live performance, the music is opened wide to allow space for playful improvisation, exploration, experimentation. While the source material is respected, it is also taken in new directions. "I love to take chances with the songs on stage," she smiles. The results of the addition of risk are many and varied, increasing the emotional output here, creating raw energy there, moving from soulful serenity to explosive funk.
The development of Beady Belle has been a continuous process, with explorations of different genres, technologies, themes and subjects, the personal and the universal. The move from fixed band line-up to Beady Belle as solo artist has created a new set of dynamics. The changing line-ups are a catalyst for fresh perspectives on Beady Belle's songs, allowing her to unfold their true potential in new and sometimes unexpected ways, while her voice stamps everything with her unmistakeable identity.
Beady Belle's powerful and captivating songs are performed by a band of hand-picked musicians, each an exemplar of their instruments and capable of weaving their own identity into the musical fabric without artistic compromise. While the members of the live band vary from year to year, tour to tour, the freedom to explore remains the same. With Beady Belle as both leader and figurehead, she revels in the possibilities the band bring to each performance. "This is a band of renowned musicians, each a virtuoso with a clear signature. But most importantly, we work as a unit with a clear direction, swinging the same groove, driving towards a common goal, discovering something new in every song. Anything can happen!"
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, I get the vibes of 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 liberating calm. We all have battles to fight. "Sometimes you have to keep an eye open for a steady course," she says. "And the way forward can be put in the shadow of the goal ahead. But if you find your own honest path, you can still be present while walking. The roads to Rome are many ..."
For "Dedication" the band was recorded live in Oslo.
Recording was by Roar Nilsen in the neighborhood studio.
The backing vocals were recorded in Robin Mullarkeys studio in London.
Singers; LaDonna Harley Peters, Sharlene Hector and Vula Malinga are three high-profile English singers who have sung with the greatest stars in the world (including Adele, Alicia Keys, Madonna, Grace Jones, Mary J Blige, Lalah Hathaway, Laura Mvula, Sam Smith , Basement Jaxx, etc ...) The trio calls themselves LaSharVu.
The musicians are from Norway's musical upper echelons:
David Wallumrød: Organ, Rhodes, grand piano, synth, clavi and guitar
Bjørn Sæther: Drums
Marius Reksjø: Electric bass
Martin Windstad: Percussion
Bjørn Charles Dreyer: El-sitar
The album is mixed by Bård Ingebrigtsen in Amper Tone and mastered by George Tanderø Mix & Mastering.
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)