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Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Artist Of The Week - Kaye-Ree
Monday, February 05, 2007

Germany has soul. OK, so you’re probably not used to hearing that, and may even have a hard time believing it, but Kaye-Ree is here to prove the statement true. Kaye-Ree is a German neo-soul singer who sings in English and is, despite local record companies’ preference for artists who sing in German, well on her way to making a name for herself. Natives of Germany can see the dancer turned singer on IM1 hosting a variety of R&B related programming, programming she hopes her own music will be on sooner rather than later. This week I’m sitting down with Kaye-Ree to talk about her career path, why German labels shy away from local artists who sing in English, and how being a television personality will affect her life.

Adam Bernard: You started off as a dancer. What made you want to go from dancing to singing and how difficult was the transition?
Kaye-Ree: Actually, I’ve been dancing since the age of three, everything from ballet, to modern dance, to waltz, Hip-Hop, and most of all, Michael Jackson’s style. When I performed musicals in school, I did the choreographies for the dancers who were involved. One year, the teacher asked me if I wanted to take a singing role as well and I said, “I don't really think that I can sing that well.” After I had to sing a song for her solo she wouldn't let me go anymore without me agreeing to taking the lead role in Westside Story as Maria. That's how it started, and for a long time I did both, establishing my own shows and background dancing for other artists. I trained my own dancers for my stage shows and would combine my singing and dancing skills. Today, I concentrate on my singing career because it grew so strongly in my heart that I can proudly say, that it will be my job for the rest of my life. I still enjoy dancing, but at the moment I don't have a crew to really do shows with. Who knows, one day it might turn into more than just a hobby again, but for now my singing-career is more important to me. I find it easier to spread my message through music, than through dancing.

Adam Bernard: What's the music scene like in Germany? Are there are a lot of soul singers or are you releasing your music into a scene full of something different?
Kaye-Ree: The music scene in Germany has changed a lot in the last ten years. Fortunately they are exploring more talent nowadays in the direction of Hip-Hop and R&B Music. Soul…that’s a little difficult to say. The record companies are very focused on the German language in the music they are releasing nowadays since they are cooperating with the international record companies and getting the English speaking artists from the U.S. or Great Britain almost for free. Why should they invest in developing an artist that is doing the same style as Mary J. Blige, or Erykah Badu, in Germany when they can market the real stars from the U.S. for free over here, without any fears of losing money? One could ask me then, why don’t you sing in German then? German is not a very soulful language to sing in for everybody, since the pronunciation sounds quite hard already. Nevertheless, great German Soul Singers like Joy Denalane and Xavier Naidoo, who are both singing in German, have been very successful for several years now. They are basically the only ones who know how to make the German language sound soft and smooth enough for soul-music in my ears. Sorry if I missed to mention anybody else. Trying to do my thing in English definitely takes my music-career to an international level, which is my goal, but also makes it a little difficult for me to convince German record companies.

Adam Bernard: What type of an audience do you feel most relates to your music and why?
Kaye-Ree: Young and grown people can relate to my music because I write about my life, love, politics, people and what ever happens every day in everybody’s life. They see that I am real, not singing about what somebody else told me to write about, and when they listen they get to know me. My music is not club music, not saying it will never be or that it is not danceable, but that makes it smooth enough for an older crowd also. I think the combination of the classic guitar and my soulful singing makes it interesting to the audience since it is a new style mixed with an old style.

Adam Bernard: In 2007 you'll be hosting a TV show in Germany on IM1. Talk to me about this. What's the show about and how will it display your talent?
Kaye-Ree: Since it is a music channel showcasing an R&B show that will include videos, interviews, music news, comedy, perhaps even spoken word poetry and live-performances, I might be able to one day also get my music promoted. Besides, it will allow my fans get to know another part of me besides my music, by doing interviews and moderating.

Adam Bernard: Sounds like a real good look. Finally, what do you feel makes you unique as an artist and separates you from your peers?
Kaye-Ree: I am green, I have a nice booty, a sexy man, and I love cherries. (laughs) My Persian/German background is an interesting mixture already, especially since there aren’t too many neo-soul singers of my kind out there. Plus, I am just being me. I write everything that I am singing myself and I won’t let anybody change me and all that is quite unique in this industry, I believe!

Take a listen to Kaye-Ree at kaye-ree.com and myspace.com/kayeree.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 7:57 AM  
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