By: Jacob Aiden
Elegant songstress Aneessa, is preparing the official release of her latest album “SATISFIED” – produced by Michael B. Sutton – which is set to drop on the 28th of May. The construction of the album, not to mention the individual songs, are infused with patience and diligence. This patience is on display immediately in the opening title track – a cover of the epic hit “Back To Life (However Do You Want Me)”, originally recorded by Soul II Soul. It fades in, gentle and languid, offering an introduction that meticulously avoids excessive bombast.
A smooth rolling beat and an emotive sax introduces Aneessa, who demonstrates the nuance and control she has in her voice before she slides to the front of the mix. And then, when Aneessa herself finally does step into the spotlight, we hear a voice that evokes passion and poignancy. The mellow but rhythmic backdrop is perfect for her tone, painting images of smoke-obscured clubs and black-tie fashion. It’s a stunning start.
“Just To Be With You” forges an evocative melody, on top of a smooth jazz rhythm, as Aneessa unfolds the complications and afflictions of couples who are involved in long distance love, interracial experiences, or different religious faiths. Alongside a voice that switches effortlessly from low to high register, we can once again savor the resonating sax notes and the bubbling basslines. For all the conventional maturity on display, there is also a sense of exploration here.
“Saint-Etienne” is a very personal and affecting song about Aneessa’s hometown in France. Here she unpacks her youthful dreams and painful memories describing why she eventually decided to leave that part of her life behind her. The super cool arrangement and expansive organic instrumentation, featuring Latin percussion and acoustic guitar motifs, generates a sense of bittersweet nostalgia.
Aneessa’s accomplished performances weaves tales of love, loss, self-doubt, discovery and empowerment, across an album of highly polished music. Aneessa’s voice is a rare gift; powerful, seductive and enthralling. But it’s not her voice alone that makes her exceptional though, it is Aneessa’s versatility that truly sets her apart. This album weaves between styles and tempos, never stopping for breath.
“I Found Myself in You” slows things down to a love ballad, in a duet with singer-songwriter Michael B. Sutton. Skillfully arranged, the two step out into the unknown, over pianos and acoustic guitars, crafting a sound and vibe that is sincerely theirs. The title track “Satisfied”, comes from the pen of Michael B. Sutton and his first wife Brenda. Their daughter Tiffany, suggested that Aneessa should record the song, resulting in an excellent proposal.
Aneessa makes “Satisfied” completely her own, as she showcases a provocative and sultry tone over a funky mid-tempo beat. And when she introduces some French language interludes, you can slowly dim the lights, as Aneessa’s voice aims straight for your heart, regardless of what she’s singing. “Miles Away” is Aneessa’s personal take on the Madonna song, which she gives a more intimate and fluid workover.
“Dream A Little Dream of Me” originally written by Fabian Andre and Wilbur Schwandt, and released in 1931, again sees Aneessa fearlessly take on a classic song. Subtly driven at its core, by the piano and a ukulele, the song expands into a rich theatrical ShowTime sound, with a blues twist and a jazz guitar solo. All of which brings us to the elegant dancefloor groove of “Gonna Be Alright”. She often reaches intoxicating tones with her vocal in such a way that she seems to have completely given herself over to song.
The album closes with Aneesa’s cover of the classic, cheeky Christmas song “Santa Baby”, written by Joan Javits, Phil Springer, and Tony Springer. She does two versions – one in English, and the other in French. Throughout these 10 songs, Aneessa commands a mastery of various styles, with enough covers and originals to flesh out a varied, captivating album. Any indulgences are offset by her raw talent and singular moments that define her sound. “Satisfied” is the sound of a true talent who’s already found herself. She is now stepping forward with complete control of her vision.
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MORE ABOUT ANEESSA:
Aneessa was born in Saint-Étienne in eastern central France. Initially, she made an indelible impression on the dance scene under the stage names Anya Rose and Lady Aneessa. Inspired by international pop icon Madonna, Aneessa applied the singing and dancing skills she picked during her schooling years, and even went on to win a major French dance competition (Championnat U.N.S.S De Danse Contemporaine).
Aneessa moved to Paris, France where she studied literature and languages at University La Sorbonne. It was here that she began singing Jazz, Soul and Pop covers, before moving to Manchester England for a couple of years. She returned to France and started a variety of career moves – from starting her own record label, recording studio and a graphic design company. Along the way she met influential collaborators, and branched out into a number of projects on a global scale.
Aneessa eventually met up with Motown producer Michael B. Sutton (Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross), for business propositions for a media company she was working for. This business relationship blossomed into a love commitment, and eventually the two began writing and producing new material together.
Produced by Michael B. Sutton
Lead Vocals : Aneessa
Background Vocals : Dionyza, Aneessa
Drums: James Gadson
Keyboards: Hiroshi Upshur, Michael B. Sutton, Michael Norfleet
Percussion: Timbali Cornwell
Guitar: Josh Sklair, Tommy O
Bass: James Manning
Saxophone: Fernando HaRkless
CD Mastered by James Forbes
Label: The Sound of L.A. www.TheSoundofLA.com