Q&A Scene: Raleigh Williams ~ WOMEN Of SOUL

Tell us about your new single that’s part of the Women Of Soul ‘Feel Good’ album?

I’ve contributed an ‘end-of-the-world’ ballad called ‘Every Drop’, with the lovely Monique Dimattina accompanying me on keys. The song, written during lockdown, is basically fantasising about a clandestine relationship that is on and off; but each time it ends – why not go out with a bang, when we might not see each other again for some time. It’s also about the protagonist owning the narrative in this case and saying – sure, this thing is doomed, so let’s just have one more glass and say goodbye. It’s supposed to be sexy, provocative and moody. It will be recorded with a whole band on my own album, but I think having it pared back to a duet makes it tender and vulnerable. It’s my aim that you hear this coming through.

It was also my pleasure to feature on a few tracks as backing singer, and you can hear a few lines of mine on ‘I See It/I Believe it’ which is a super fun, girl-power number of empowerment and making decisions for oneself. For me it harks back to those poppy uplifting numbers like ‘This Will Be’ (Natalie Cole) and ‘I’m coming out’ (Diana Ross) of the earlier rnb and soul eras.

What’s your favourite work at this point in time? 

I’ve spent a lot of my career as a singer in the live domain or performing as backing vocalist for other people’s project, so it’s hard for me to pinpoint my favourite work. I’m really proud of my performances over the last few years with Cookin’ on 3 Burners, an absolute stalwart in the Australian soul scene; and FOOLS – a rather large (12 piece) rising star of the rock/blues/Americana scene. You can find my BVs on their albums!

How would you describe your sound in food form and why?

Ok, can I say like a boozy crème brûlée? Something that’s smooth and classic, but has some delicious crunchy sweet bits, a French influence, and hopefully a little unexpected given a swirl of some delicious liqueur in there!

Tell us a quick, on the road or studio, anecdote.

I’ve been to the far corners of Australia with music in many different forms, and an experience I’ll never forget is touring in very remote southern WA for very small towns of population 200 or so; where half the signs in those towns were changed to welcome our band – you’d walk into the pub for dinner and everyone knew who you were; where folks didn’t clap after songs because they had no idea that’s what performance etiquette is until you showed the them; and every kid wanted our ‘autograph’. These were really moving and precious experiences for me, to share music amongst these communities and feel that universal joy that is the magic of music bringing us together.

What, or who, inspires you?

I’m inspired by so many different people – so many local artists who are doing amazing things. As a Francophone myself, Tina Arena has always been one of my idols, not only for her impenetrable vocal talent but for her navigation of the French music scene as well. People who handle their careers with grace and tenacity are generally those who I gravitate towards, particularly mothers, being one myself. I’ve often struggled to work out which genre I belong in, coming from a jazz background but being a lover of pop and soul, and so artists who have straddled all of these have always been inspirational to me. We should all be shape-shifters: life is long and we grow and change when we learn and have life experiences! But above all of this, my daughter Jemima has always inspired me to work hard, and make my participation in anything I do worthwhile.

Which song do you wish you wrote?

Too many! I’ve always said I think Kimbra’s album ‘Vows’ is perfection and it’s the album I wish I’d written and sung because it’s so exciting, clever and fun. ‘I can’t make you love me’ by Bonnie Raitt would be another one – such a simple yet killer ballad.

What’s next for you?

I’ve had an album-worth of songs sitting untouched for quite some time. After some vocal issues this year I’m looking forward to bringing this to the table and finally work on releasing it to the world, for better or worse!

What’s your scene?

I thrive being around great friends, exciting music, seeing new places, and being surprised.


WOMEN OF SOUL SHARE DOUBLE SINGLE

LIFELINE FT RITA SATCH & I AM ENOUGH FT CANDICE MONIQUE

AND ANNOUNCE SOPHOMORE RECORD FEEL GOODSET FOR JUNE 2 RELEASE

Australia’s premier collective of female-identifying artists Women of Soulis proud to share the first two tracks from their forthcoming full-length LP Feel Good, set for release on June 2 on House of Valerie Joan. Featuring more than 25 creatives, the album contains contributions from artists such as Kylie Auldist, Stella Angelico, Thndo, Maria Moles, Monique diMattina, Vanessa Perica, Kathleen Halloran, Tamara Murphy and many more. With Chelsea Wilson as executive producer and Anna Laverty as producer and engineer, the album was entirely composed, recorded, performed and produced by an all-female team, a rare feat in the Australian music industry. 

 

Lifeline draws on classic pop songwriting such as Carole King, but the sweeping cinematic arrangement paired with classically trained violinist and vocalist Rita Satch’s impressively gorgeous vocals evoke thoughts of Lianne La Havas and Emily King. A dynamic live performer, Satchhas appeared at world renowned festivals such as Glastonbury and Cheltenham Jazz Festival (UK), won first prize in the Unsigned Only International Songwriting Competition and is a regular collaborator with ARIA winner Barney McAll.  The track was co-written by Rita Satch, Miss Emilia, Chelsea Wilson and Alzzy during the Women of Soul songwriting intensive. Funded by the Creative Victoria Music Recovery program, the intensive saw 30 Melbourne-based artists collaborate on new compositions. 

 

“I see this song as an anthem for anyone who feels like they’re caught in the storms of life,” says Alzzy. It’s a song about the power found in the choice to fight and to hold on to hope, no matter what obstacles lie ahead.  Finding your lifeline means finding the perseverance, resilience, and strength to push through and overcome the challenges you face. It all starts inside – you can feel like you’re sinking and surrounded by rising waves, but when you choose to keep fighting, it means that triumph is still possible.”

 

I Am Enough wields a powerful and heartfelt, uplifting message, reminiscent of India Arie’s Video and the more recent feel-good anthems of Lizzo. The song features poet, lyricist and vocalist Candice Monique who has an inimitable style that fuses neo-soul and hip-hop. A prolific writer, her extensive catalogue includes collaborations with Professor Griff of Public Enemy, Rich Medina, Metals and P-Phazes.  I Am Enough was co-written by Monique, vocalists Thndo and Chelsea Wilson, pianist Mon Boggia and trumpet player Audrey Powne.

 

“The song is essentially about realisation of self-love and self-acceptance, overcoming the pressures society puts on us to look/be/act a certain way, especially when it comes to body image, and allowing ourselves to just be amazing .. it’s about throwing all the self-criticism away and embracing our own unique brilliance” – Candice Monique 

 

Recorded at Sing Sing East and Tender Trap Studios, this exquisite and uplifting Feel Good LP was executively produced with precision by Chelsea Wilson, engineered and mixed by producer Anna Laverty andmastered by Kathy Naunton at Db Mastering. And it must be said that this unique album is not a compilation – each song was deeply thought through and developed collaboratively with the songwriters, musicians, vocalists and production team. Also doubling down as the collective’s Artistic Director, Wilson offers insight into the extraordinary effort involved in bringing the Women of Soul album to lifesaying, “For a lot of artists in the collective, the last few years have been incredibly challenging professionally and also personally – there has been family loss, divorces, births, unemployment, marriages and illness. So, the fact that amongst all of this, we managed to bring together over 30 creatives to make an album is no mean feat. I am really proud of the work, it stands together as a great album to listen to. Wilson continues, “I think some people will be surprised by the sounds, it is a more mellow and sophisticated sounding record than our first which I think shows the development of a lot of the artists musically over the last few years.”

 

Currently in Australia, only 20% of APRA AMCOS songwriter members are women or female-identifying, with only 15% of annual royalties going to female writers. Worldwide, less than 2% of recording producers are women. The Women of Soul record is significant and isone of the very few albums in Australia to be produced, composed, recorded and performed by an all-female team. The album recording and songwriting provided employment throughout the pandemic lockdowns and offered a meaningful opportunity for female artists to collaborate in a safe environment. For many of the artists, it also provided a professional development opportunity; for some it was the first time they had appeared on a commercial release, for others it was their first time arranging for an album or assisting with engineering. And for almost all, it was their first creative project postlockdowns, so being able to write and work together proved to be a cathartic, healing and emotional experience

 

To honour the LP and the Women of Soul fans, there’ll be an album launch show at The Toff In Town on Friday June 2. Spotlighting the immense talent and expertise of all those involved, all songs on Feel Good were recorded live in the studio (with some overdubbed vocals and strings), and hence the record boasts an authentic sound comparable to their energetic and inspirational live show. So, get to know this masterpiece of a record, and whip out those dancing shoes for what is a guaranteed feel good night celebrating the talents of some of the finest females in the Australian music industry.

 

Lifeline and I Am Enough are released today.

Feel Good will be released on June 2 via House of Valerie Joan.

Tickets to the album launch show at The Toff In Town are on sale now.

 

STREAM LIFELINE   | STREAM I AM ENOUGH 

FRIDAY 2 JUNE | THE TOFF IN TOWNMELBOURNE | TICKETS: https://thetoff.com.au

Songwriters “Lifeline”: Rita Satch, Emilia Schnall, Chelsea Wilson, Alyssa Allet

Songwriters “I Am Enough”: Thndo, Candice Monique, Chelsea Wilson, Audrey Powne, Monique Boggia

Executive Producer: Chelsea Wilson

Produced, Engineered and Mixed by Anna Laverty

Mastering: Kathy Naunton 

Assistant Engineer: Natasha Newling

Additional Engineering: Laura Hancock

Graphic Design: Vanessa Fernandez

Photography: Nicole Cleary

Recorded at Sing Sing East Box Hill and Tender Trap Studios Melbourne 

Drums: Freyja Hooper (Lifeline), Maria Moles (I Am Enough) 

Bass: Tamara Murphy

Guitar: Kathleen Halloran

Piano/Keyboards: Monique DiMattina 

Percussion: Neda Rahmani

Cello: Anita Quayle

Violin: Fem Belling, Rita Satch 

Backing Vocals: Alzzy, Emilia Schnall, Chelsea Wilson (Lifeline), Sickone and Candice Monique (I Am Enough) 


MORE INFO:
Women of Soul is led by Artistic Director, Vocalist, Broadcaster and DJ Chelsea Wilson. Since 2011 WOS have presented live original music from artists including Mo’ Ju (VIC), Nkechi Anele (Saskwatch) (VIC), Odette Mercy (WA), Clairy Browne (VIC), Alphamama (NSW), Randa and the Soul Kingdom (WA), Tara Lynch (The Transatlantics) (SA), Milan Ring (NSW), Shae Mourtzakis (QLD) and many more. The collective has been featured on ABC Radio National, Mi-Soul London, PBS 106.7FM, RRR 102.7FM, and were guest hosts on triple J’s Roots ‘N’ All program. Performance highlights include Melbourne Recital Centre, The Malthouse Theatre, Federation Square, Adelaide Fringe Festival and a special live broadcast from the MPavillion for Australian Music Week on ABC Radio. Their debut self-titled album was nominated for Best Soul/R’n’B Album at The Age Music Victoria Awards. The collective aims to empower women in the music industry through songwriting, recording and live shows. Women of Soul also engages women behind the scenes in supporting roles including sound engineering, production, photography, lighting, producing and childcare, overcoming barriers to women participating and thriving in the music industry.

 

ARTIST BIOS

Rita Satch – Vocalist/Songwriter 

“Soulful vocals with a jazz-tinged charm, there’s a defiant, modern approach at play here.” 

–  Clash Magazine.

Classically trained violinist, vocalist and songwriting Rita Satch seamlessly moved from the jazz world to the soul scene with her debut self-titled EP.  Brought up on jazz and soul greats such as Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles and Nina Simone, Rita Satch has a powerful voice that transcends time. A dynamic live performer, she has appeared at world renowned festivals such as Glastonbury and Cheltenham Jazz Festival (UK) and won first prize in the Unsigned Only International Songwriting Competition. Satch regularly collaborates with ARIA-winner Barney McAll (Sia, Gary Bartz) who featured her in his most recent releases, “Precious Energy” 

 

Candice Monique – Vocalist/Songwriter 

It is said Candice Monique fuses Classic & Neo Soul, Jazz, RnB, Funk, Blues, Folk & Spoken Word – some statement, but when you listen .., you’ll see the description is spot on” –  Paul Miller Soul Show – BBC Radio

Poet, lyricist and vocalist Candice Monique has an inimitable style that fuses neo-soul, hip-hop, spoken world and soul. A prolific writer, her extensive catalogue includes collaborations with Professor Griff of Public Enemy, Rich Medina, Metals and P-Phazes. Her debut album “In My Soul” (Freestyle Records) with her band The Optics generated Candice BBC airplay and international recognition, drawing comparisons to Me’shell Ndegeocello, Lauren Hill and Erykah Badu. 

 

Chelsea Wilson – Women of Soul Director/Vocalist/Songwriter/Producer

“A goddamn soul/jazz powerhouse”  – Beat Magazine

Chelsea is a Melbourne based vocalist, songwriter, broadcaster and producer. Her debut album “I Hope You’ll Be Very Unhappy Without Me” was lauded #2 Album of the Year on ABC Radio National and nominated for Best Soul Album at The Age Music Victoria Awards. An internationally acclaimed live performer, she headlined the Arts Centre Melbourne stage at the Australasian World Music Expo, and made her UK debut at Glastonbury Festival, subsequently selling out the famous London Jazz Café. Her second album “Chasing Gold” was nominated for the Australian Music Prize. 

Behind the scenes, Chelsea is an advocate for the Australian music industry and women in music. She has held roles including Artistic Associate of Melbourne International Jazz Festival Congress, Deputy Chair Board Director of Music Victoria, and Artistic Director Brunswick Music Festival. As a guest speaker Chelsea has appeared at music industry conferences such as NYC Jazz Congress USA, Indie-Con and Bigsound and is a guest lecturer at Melbourne University and Monash University. The former Music Manager of iconic Melbourne radio station PBS 106.7FM she has presented radio programs for PBS, Mi-Soul Radio UK, triple j and Delite Radio London. An advocate for Women in Music she was a founding member of the Music Victoria Women in Music Advisory Panel, has managed the Women of Soul Collective for over a decade and currently produces the Control Podcast, highlighting women and gender diverse creatives. 

 

 

OFFICIAL WEBSITE INSTAGRAM     FACEBOOKABOUT WOMEN OF SOUL VIDEO

 

 

About Mary Boukouvalas 1576 Articles
Mary is a photographer and a writer, specialising in music. She runs Rocklust.com where she endeavours to capture the passion of music in her photos whether it's live music photography, promotional band photos or portraits. She has photographed The Rolling Stones, KISS, Iggy Pop, AC/DC, Patti Smith, Joe Strummer, PULP, The Cult, The Damned, The Cure, Ian Brown, Interpol, MUDHONEY, The MELVINS, The Living End, Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against The Machine, The Stone Roses –just to name a few - in Australia, USA, Europe and the Middle East. Her work has been published in Beat magazine, Rolling Stone magazine, Triple J magazine, The Age Newspaper, The Herald Sun, The Australian, Neos Kosmos, blistering.com, theaureview.com, noise11.com, music-news.com. She has a permanent photographic exhibition at The Corner Hotel in Richmond, Victoria Australia.