Single Of The Week: Louie Vega Starring Monique Bingham – Elevator (Going Up) (Louie Vega Dance Ritual Remix) (Vega Records)
Here we go with two of the busiest characters of these last months securing time for themselves. Meanwhile sharing the duties on what stands as a captivating (aural) scenario. The one and only Monique Bingham makin’ proof of her undeniable talent and versatility on a song – ‘Elevator (Going Up)’ – conceived upon different sequences. The latter forming as many acts of an enlightening story. As many chapters of that kind of a book you just can’t stop reading from A to Z as a matter of fact. With Louie Vega spicin’ up the whole with a 5 star jazzy piano driven orchestration…
‘Elevator (Going Up)’ stands among the definitive highlights of Vega‘s ‘Starring XVIII album’. Therefore makin’ of it an essential investment. You just don’t wanna miss this. No more than his Latin Soul Version of 3 Winans Brothers feat. The Clark Sisters‘ ‘Dance’. Or ‘I Deserve To Breathe’ featuring Adeva. Not to mention the massive ‘You Are Everything’ starring Jocelyn Brown.
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Monique Bingham has delivered some of the most poignant soulful Jazz-infused House Music gems of the past 20 years…
Her career began with Acid Jazz band Abstract Truth in 1995 at François K‘s Axis studios. The first single, ‘Get Another Plan’, received international critical acclaim. Gilles Peterson eventually pickin’ it up for his UK imprint, Talkin’ Loud, the year after.
Its follow up, ‘We Had A Thing’, which she penned and performed, is an another indisputable Soulful Jazz House classic. A gem that owes a lot to Matthias Heilbronn’s infectious remixing work.
Once injected into the veins of the underground, Ms. Bingham’s penchant for painstakingly crafted lyrics put her in a class by herself. In addition to her work with Abstract Truth she went on to solo performances with Blue Six. But also Sir Piers (cf. the recent ‘American In Chelsea’), Studio Apartment and Liquid People.
She has also worked with some of the House scene’s most respected DJ’s/producers… Quentin Harris, Kerri Chandler, and Ralf GUM. Her writing skills brought her to the attention of Jellybean Benitez. The latter signing her to his NYC publishing house in 2008.
In 2009 and 2010 she released songs with Karizma and Osunlade. Then with Phil Asher and Bah Samba.
In 2011, Monique completed her first self-produced single, ‘You.Me.World’. A song which she released on her own record label, Bigga Sounds. That same year also saw her coming for the first time to South Africa. There she performed at the 12th annual Capetown International Jazz Festival. Sharing a bill with luminaries such as Wayne Shorter and Earth, Wind & Fire! Subsequent tours throughout S.A., Botswana and Lesotho have confirmed her as one the country’s most respected underground artists.
Her 2012 collaboration with Ralf GUM, ‘Take Me To My Love’, turned into a runaway hit worldwide. It garnered 500,000 plus YouTube hits as of this writing. She also happened to be the first ever non-South African artist to perform live for a television audience of over 10 million viewers. This was at the 12th annual Metro FM Awards in 2013 where her song, ‘Pride’. A performance which helped DJ Pepsi snag the award for House Album of the year.
In 2014, Monique came to collaborate with one of the world’s greatest living Jazz legends, “Bra” Hugh Masakela. She therefore penned ‘With Her Hand’ along with Ralf GUM for his sophomore album, ‘In My City’. A song about about the late human rights icon Nelson Mandela passing in the presence of Winnie Mandela. The latest single release with Ralf GUM, ‘The Pap’, received international critical acclaim too. And it reinforced her love of and contribution to South Africa’s explosive House Music scene.
Monique celerated her 2 decades in the recording industry back in 2015 with the release of ‘Best Of Last’. An antholgy featuring a host of classic and rare tracks as well as new music. From ‘Deep In The Bottom (Of Africa)’ with Black Coffee. To ‘Gets You Off’ with remix courtesy of Rocco. And also Chymamusique‘s reinterpretation of ‘Bloody Lucky’ to name a few.
She also brought her contribution to Louie Vega‘s album, ‘Starring XXVIII’ with the memorable ‘Elevator’. Not to mention Mobi Dixon‘s ‘Live The Music’ album with ‘Mixed Up Chick’.
Monique Bingham remains one of the most interesting and enduring artists the New York City underground has ever produced. “It’s weird. After 20 years of making music and being on the road, I almost feel like I’m just getting started. I have so much more to say and in some ways I’m more excited now than I was back in ’95. The future is wide open.” she says…
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