Soul singing sensation N'Dea Davenport of the internationally critically acclaimed acid jazz-funk band, The Brand New Heavies tells us what contributed to her development as an artist from childhood to LA in the 80s to her signature style.
The soulful voice of vocalist/ songwriter/ producer N'Dea Davenport first emerged in 1991 when she became the front woman for the Acid Jazz British funk band, The Brand New Heavies.
But long before worldwide notoriety was present, she fell in love with music, dance, performing and the arts. "I think I got involved in almost everything creatively I could do when I was in school, to keep my mind busy to try and stay out of trouble. From sports to theater, you name it. I probably did it." A regular routine of piano and dance studies were the core of her development. Ironic as it is, singing would later be the focus of her affections.
As soon as it was possible to "break out" as she calls it, she left her home town of Atlanta, with little more than 300 dollars on route to Los Angeles with the primary goal of just going somewhere she had never been to alone. Little did she know, that early sense of adventure would begin a chain-of-events that would change her life forever.
After landing in Los Angeles, she became inspired and apart of the burgeoning underground "club warehouse scene." Within the flourishing community of artists, fashion designers and musical talents, it was such as celebration of funk, hip-hop, rock, punk, graffiti, performance art and everything between. Meeting the late Keith Herring, Jean-Michel Basquiat and the very much alive Fab Five Freddy, was really special." And after a reluctant impromptu song for Fred, he quickly got word to his dj-club owner friend that happened to be one-half of the newly formed record label, Delicious Vinyl. Soon after, she found herself recording and planning for her debut CD.
As fate would have it, a British group called The Brand New Heavies, were signed to the label shortly after. With no lead vocalist, and N'Dea's love of collaborating, the tone was set for a magical combination. She relocated to London with the Heavies, where they gave birth to an international movement known as Acid Jazz. Fusing funk, soul and RnB, the term Acid Jazz has also been known as "The second coming of soul" re-establishing legacy, and opening the doors to Neo-classical soul.
In 1995, after years and at the height of their commercial success, N'Dea simply packed up heading back to the U.S. leaving London and her former bandmates. After returning, she continued to develop her solo cd, and collaborate with various artists including, Mos Def, Everlast, DJ Krush, Dallas Austin, Guru (Jazzmatazz), Natalie Merchant and Daniel Lanois to name a few. Her self-titled debut, the effort she put on the back burner for several years, was released on V2 Records in 1998, boasting the funky flavor that listeners have come to expect from her. It takes you back to the day when music wasn't lumped into preconceived, easy to digest categories. And personally leading her on to the experience of musical freedoms and self-exploration producing and orchestrating the mass majority of her projects. Her songs are often laced with social commentaries meant, not to provoke, but to trigger thought and inspire dialogue. She is continuing that process, by developing, and performing new material for a forth-coming cd.