Andria Simone – Evolve


Andria Simone – Evolve

Label: Spectra Records


9/10 Stars

Singer-songwriter Andria Simone was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. Her style can be described as “soul-flavoured”, but she is a lover of many genres.  Her eclectic taste in music can be partly attributed to the various places she has lived, including Manchester, England and Lviv, Ukraine. Even more excitingly, she has now earned committed fans across the Atlantic. In June 2014, Andria Simone and Those Guys won the Hennessy Talent Quest, a prestigious international competition for new musical talent. The prize was an all-expenses paid week in Cognac, France, during which the band performed several shows at the Blues Passion Festival, a star-studded fest that featured such names as Robert Plant, George Benson and Lily Allen. Andria and Those Guys opened for major French soul star Ben l’Oncle Soul as well as playing their own headline show.

Influences include: Janis Joplin, Tina Turner, Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, Etta James and Amy Winehouse.

Does all of the above sound “destiny driven” to you? Well guess what sometimes it just comes with the territory. This is the same approach Madonna used. Lest we not forget this is after all a form of entertainment correct which can mean a shooting star mystique. At the least they understand the appeal of a novelty of a shooting star and how that might factor into the intrigue behind the vibrant sound put forward on this CD. Mind you this is not just a labor of lust and testament to the classic Sex, Drugs and Rock n’ Roll. It’s also a sweeping voluminous record that hits on many levels. Andria Simone has taken a page from the script of many mega artists and turned it inside out, inside out and quite literally breathed a whole new life into this style of music. Instead of dated sounding songs and an obvious homage paid to the music and musical ideals of the past this is an action packed blast from the past that goes everywhere from R&B, modern pop, dance, blues to psychedelic melodies that will inspire and suck you in. This latest CD “Evolve” delivers an uncharacteristic fusion of melodic vocals, and unique songwriting/production techniques, with a limber rhythm section that keeps the music loose yet powerful… and HIGHLY addictive and hooky. The first 2 tracks “Torn” and “Sunshine of your Love by Cream literally jump off the plate in rough and tumble fashion. With her smooth yet powerful voice the lyrics and subject matter channel explosive energy straight between the eyes and ears. It’s a solid start and offers a hint of what’s ahead. Completely shifting directions a bit “Eaux De Vie” and “Beautiful Life” it keeps the flow going and encouraged me to turn the volume up. Other track like “Groove Doctor” will rock your world.

Evolve by Andria Simone plays out like most pop artists from the 70’s-90’s through to today. Yes – there’s a whole lot of “truth telling” going on here. But let me go on record by saying this album is definitely one of my favorite mood-pop CD’s I’ve heard in recent memory. The songs definitely dance from one tempo and style to the next. Unlike most artists of this ilk, Simone has soul and reminds me of a Canadian version of Adelle. She never feels like it’s forced upon you either like many superficial artists that seem stuck in time. These types of records fully let me in to see the scope and the breadth of the artist, so you could really understand so much more than the music. Bottom Line: this is about living life, and pursuing a dream. Andria Simone has created a great foundation to springboard from and have crafted their tunes with a gifted hand and though this CD may not be for everyone – it’s still a highly enjoyable listen, and admittedly, growing on me with every lethal spin. So far so good – let’s see where the journey leads her shall we?

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Denise Colgan