We’ve fallen for Gizelle Smith somewhat here on Backseat Mafia. The daughter of late Four Tops songwriter Joe Smith and vocalist of German funk ensemble The MIghty Mocambos, Smith recently released her new album Revealing via the much lauded Jalapeño Records label.
It’s an album that never strays wholly away from that classic Soul/Funk sound, and much of it has both the ring of her late father, but also colossus’s such as Aretha and Lyn Collins. However, there’s more to it than that. As Smith says “I have such a plethora of beautiful influences, I just want to channel and express myself in any musical way I want, across musical landscapes that I choose”. So don’t be surprised upon listening when there’s elements of pop, rock, electronic, even a whiff of psychedelia here and there. Best of all though, amongst all of it, this varied musical coat is draped on classic songwriting mannequins, which last long in the memory. It’s brilliant and forward looking and, well…….revealing I guess.
We were delighted that Gizelle was available to talk us through the album track by track. So sit bank, click on the album, and read more.
- AGONY ROAD – The 7 stages of grief. You can grieve for many things outside of the death of someone: the loss of a friendship, loss of a way of life, the loss of who you once were… and you need to make space for the process of recovery. Many of us ignore the need to allow ourselves the months and years to grieve because we’re too busy or simply because we don’t want to feel the emotions. So we run from them.
2. SUPERSTAR – Social media influencers – do we need them? The age of the celebrity has evolved with advancing comunication technology. Is this new status justified? Is this a genuine ‘talent’ or new artform? Will our careers and successes now depend on our ability to compete with influencers who have apparently, set the standard for entertaining and engaging content, rather than on the strength of our actual products or skill? I’m just asking.
3. BETTER REMEMBER (They’re Controlling You) – Social conditioning. We’re all born, ready to learn and explore, without prejudice or hate but it’s not long till we are told the ‘rules’ of how to live, who is superior and what choices we’re ‘allowed’ to have within this machine. What better way to keep reinforcing ideas, political/class agendas and compliance to millions of people than through something so easily and innocently digested as the media.
4. MAYBE, BABY (LOVIN YOU WAS NEVER IDEAL) – The age-old story of unrequited love. You believe you’re perfect for each other. They love making you believe that.
5. THE GIRL WHO CRIED SLOW – Turning your life around. There are so many examples of people who have achieved incredible things from a place of absolute despair. Everyone is someone. Don’t lose hope. Don’t let your circumstances define you.
6. KING OF THE MOUNTAIN – cover by Kate Bush and a track I dedicated to my dad. I picked something off the beaten path of covers, which had room for me to be creatively free, without damaging the integrity of the original sentiment.
7. THREE TINY SEEDS – Spiritual awakening and the growth of self. It’s a common thought that this is some exciting, fun, over-night revelation. In reality, it’s an unsettling, dark and often lonely journey to peace and acceptance, shedding beliefs you thought were unshakable and seeing life through a crystal clear lense.
8. MISS WORLD (LESS IS MORE) – Issues of climate change and pollution from the point of view of the suffering Earth. As consumers, the focus always seems to be on us to change and limit our habits, after decades of being led to believe (yes, through the power of marketing and the media), that our lives will be greatly improved by using the resources which are now subject to much controversy. But where is the blame and the fines in the direction of the huge corporations who continue to be the destructive, polluting root, ravaging the Earth of its resources in the first place and pocketing billions of £££? It would make more sense to limit or halt THEIR production first, no? Pick a side.
9. RIOT CARS – US police departments guilty of racial profiling and using excessive, often deadly force. ‘Karens’ calling the cops on people of colour, simply to vilify them. It’s all being captured for the world to finally see and it has been a tough, emotional few years witnessing it. Still, it’s important that we do. It might be worth noting that in the South, the first form of policing in the 1700s was known as ‘Slave Patrol’: groups put in place to stop runaway slaves, who in time gave way to the Klu-Klux-Klan and for the rest of the country, the patrol groups were often made up of criminals soooooo… it’s a pretty rotten apple that needs throwing out.