Hello one and all, it's been a little while since my last blog. My new social strategy is to publish a new piece ONCE A WEEK - now I've set myself a good challenge! I hope all is well...👌🏻

To start things off, I'm excitingly now able to ANNOUNCE the album with Redtenbacher's Funkestra Part of Me will be launched with a live CD Launch at 606 Club, Chelsea on FRIDAY 1ST JUNE! I really hope that YOU can make it down. We've been working hard on our funky jazz-pop reimaginations over the last year - it's going to be special!

Ooooooooh, and the artwork - just you wait! :D

So with the launch and social media 'chatter' over the next few months Mr Stefan 'Boss Man' Redtenbacher has been setting me tasks with so many amazing questions that have been shining light on where it all started for little Helena May. One question in particular..... 

 

When was the moment when you KNEW you wanted do be a singer?

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When I finally put my 2001 Jamiroquai 'Funk Odyssey' album in the CD player...and pressed play! I was given it as a present for Christmas from my Mum and was instantly sedate about it because I didn't know who they were. "JAM...IRO...QUAI?!" - trying to say it aloud. I simply put it on the pile of presents and forgot about it. Baring in mind I was only 11 - the amount of presents mattered over the actual detail and content of the items, unfortunately. I was into S Club 7 and Five at the time (I know...I know!)

I believe my Mum only bought it because it was No 1 in the shops. But Mum's know best...oh yes they do indeed! So, I decided to give it a go...six months later (?!) and put the CD my bedroom player and pressed play. And, quite literally...MY WHOLE WORLD CHANGED! I thought "what...is this?!" I didn't know that this music existed. A nu-funk, disco-rock, dance-pop masterpiece! The bass, the drums, the vocals, the percussion, the strings, the backing vocals. They all blew me away - what a production! (Good work Rick Pope)

Like I said, I was really into Five, S Club 7, Steps - pop radio tracks you'd dance to shy-fully at school discos! Reach by S Club 7 was a popular one - we all knew the dance moves...dear oh dear! Making shows with my best friend Imogen - dreaming of being a pop-star one day...

 

ANYWAY...back to a new funky sound...

I’d listen to Funk Odyssey time and time again, dancing around my room, eagerly waiting for the extra track bonus track - So Good To Feel Real which follows 30 seconds after the album's final track Picture of My Life. Have you found it/heard it yet?! I would listen to it, over and over again dreaming of one day being Jay Kay's backing singer - I still very much have that dream!

Each individual instrument has their own individual path with each tune. I would replay the tracks over and over again listening to each instrument - seeing what they did throughout the song, discovering how the harmonies and rhythms intertwined. I still do now....I only just re-discovered the extra tambourine rhythms in Alright the other day!

Little L - Track 2 was the funkiest thing I had ever heard in my 11 years of living. I jumped for joy around the living room when they were on Top of The Pops. Who remembers TOTP?! Ah, memories...

 

 Yes, it's safe to say...

 ...Jamiroquai are sublimely high up there in my favourites. With many others up there, of course - Earth, Wind & Fire, Sister Sledge, Average White Band, Jill Scott, Merry Clayton

I've got Jamiroquai's whole CD collection - vinyls too! I'm currently running through their extensive collection as I write this blog to you. :) I've been hugely inspired as a performer by Jay Kay - his energy, his moves, his creativity!

I'd love him to hear the Funkestra material we've been working on.

 

So...what a question that has helped me remember where it all started! 

 

I've just reached the little old age of two years in London! The last two years in 'The Big Smoke' have been incredible. I was introduced to Funkestra quite early on in my London journey - Mike Sturgis (Asia, Wishbone Ash) Eran Kendler (The Red Counts), Karl vanden Bossche (Gorillaz), Sid Gould (Incognito), just to name a few.

And to be working with the one and only, Stefan Redtenbacher - producer, bassist extraordinaire and...as I like to fondly call him - 'life coach!'

Funkestra helps ignite the fire in me every day as London is now truly a reality not just a pipe-dream of a young girl from Wales!

 

THANK YOU Mum...

 ...for introducing me to the world of funky, disco, acid-jazz, nu-funk- pop! I'm extremely proud of the album Part of Me - coming out in June. Oooooh before I say "bye for now".

Something to check out -

** THE (incredible) albums of Redtenbacher's Funkestra: redtenbachersfunkestra.bandcamp.com/ **

Lots of love, bye for now!

HM 💋 xx

 

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