Nicole Henry pays RESPECT to Aretha Franklin...
Nicole Henry pays RESPECT to Aretha Franklin
Aretha Franklin was one of the best-selling musical artists of all time - the most charted female artist in history, she sold more than 75 million records worldwide.
We chatted to Nicole Henry, a sensational New York based soul and jazz singer, who will perform the music of Aretha Franklin at The Apex on 9 October.
Welcome to the U.K. is this your first time performing here?
Thank you, delighted to be here. My first public performances here were in Fall of 2017 – we had four sold-out concerts. We opened the Cambridge Jazz Festival – I can never forget experiencing the beauty of Kings College Chapel – and then two nights launching the London Jazz Festival.
You are a very successful award winner in the USA and have recorded many top selling albums. Where did your musical life start?
Ha…well, thank you for reminding me about the awards and such! Like many vocalists, my musical life started in school and church choirs. But I hadn’t thought of a career in music until a DJ invited me to record house music during my college years. It was actually at that first performance at a rave when I discovered I wanted to sing professionally and just get better at my craft. I’ve been a full-time musician since 2001; my first full-length, international release was in 2004 and I have a total of 7 albums. While I grew up on pop, soul, classic gospel and R&B, I had an all-in love affair with jazz for about six years, releasing 3 albums of solely that style; then, since 2008 I’ve been incorporating much more of everything into my sound. To me, good music has always been good music, whatever the genre. But all along the way, I’ve always had a more pop/soul foundation in my vocal style.
Was Aretha Franklin an early influence? What is it about her music that resonates with people?
Indeed, Aretha was an early influence. I can’t think of a time when I didn’t know every word to her Amazing Grace album. How do you explain her gift that was a once-in-a-lifetime sort of talent? Musical expression, for me, is Godly. It’s power, it’s connection, it’s truth…
She was listed by Billboard magazine as the greatest singer of all time and named the Queen of Soul. What can your audiences expect at your concerts? Surely you have to include RESPECT and Amazing Grace!
No pressure, right?No pressure… HA HA!! They can expect a musical celebration of ReRe through of some of the best soul songs ever recorded. And, you can’t honour Aretha without giving her RESPECT. So, you can count on that… and we will definitely hit at least one of her gospel tunes. We plan on spanning her repertoire, which included gospel, blues, jazz, soul and pop.
Your musicians this time are young British soul and blues players, led by guitarist Nick Fitch. Originally from Norfolk, Nick has performed at Ronnie Scott’s and played with NYJO, Claire Martin and Sophie Ellis-Bextor…
Yes, Nick is quite a talented, in-demand arranger and player. He’s been wonderfully creative and so easy to work with…. And he definitely is steeped in the genre so, we’re going to have some fun!
The Music of Aretha Franklin: The Queen of Soul is at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds on Wednesday 9 October at 7.30pm. Tickets are available from www.theapex.co.uk or 01284 758000.