Tennerz: Portia Monique – Ecstasy (The Laybouts Vocal Mix) (Reel People Music)
British stable Reel People Music most likely counts among our favs here on IDMW. Standing as the perfect illustration as to how a label is meant to be working. And more precisely in terms of artist development. Here we have another brilliant illstration to this with ‘Ecstasy’. Therefore comforting the positions of both Portia Monique and The Layabouts among talents to count with…
From her eponymous debut-album, ‘Ecstasy’ is, as its title says, an exquisite piece of contemporary Soul. With The Layabouts givin’ it an… ecstatic progression over a bumpin’ bass-driven groove. And Reel People remainin’ closer to the original version. Meanwhile turnin’ it into what one might consider as a live expression of Latinesque Broken Beat/Jazz.
Ecstasy… This is just what it says!
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– Portia Monique has a appealing sound that is instantly recognizable. She has a style that is a seamless fusion of Soul, R&B and Jazz. Her voice is as distinctive as her look. This 6ft diva woos her listeners with unique and edgy song concepts, jazzy vocal tricks, and complex vocal harmonies. Sayin’ it differently, she has everything to become a major artist…
Singing since she was 3 and writing songs since she was 9, Portia has a knack for lyrical prose that is nothing less than incredible. A prominent musical figure in Seattle, she built her local reputation through weekly performances at lounges and collaboration with other local artists. Her first single ‘Radio’ became an instant hit on Hot Jams 88.9 FM back in the day. In addition to ‘Radio’, Portia is also remembered for her colllaborations with Seattle’s hit music producer Illoquint.
She has worked with producer Kyle West. But also with (Donnell Jones, LL Cool J and Tevin Campbell). Eventually coming to perform on Houston’s ‘The Kitty Williams Show’. And she has shared the stage with internationally known recording artist Choklate.
Hit maker Rodney Jerkins and Soul singer Raheem Devaughn have both acknowledged Portia‘s skills. Not to mention the founder of Reel People Music, which shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Portia first landed on Reel People back in 2012. Deliverin’ ‘Do Better’ along with The Layabouts back in 2012. And, by that, the episode #1 of a series of fruitful collabs with the famous twosome. This givin’ birth to extra productions or remixes along with time. From ‘Colours Of Love’ to ‘Bring Me Joy’. Not to mention ‘Ecstasy’.
She eventually released her emonymous debut-album by the end of 2014. Spanning gems such as ‘Cloud IX’ and ‘Ain’t Scared Of You’. But also ‘Never Give You Up’ (with remixing work courtesy of Joey Negro) and ‘Ecstasy’. Meanwhile she would also share the duties with Ralf GUM on the memorable ‘Free Is All I Wanna Be’. A track from his ‘In My City’ album which eventually saw the light the same year.
More recently, she did a one off by the likes of ‘The Cure’ along with South African pair Edsoul and Fang DaRhythm aka The Rhythm Sessions. A cut which we eventually welcomed as our Single Of The Week by the end of 2016.
Influenced by artists such as Sade, Zap Mama and many more, this young woman has developed an eccentric yet universally appealing sound that one could hardly replicate.
With plans to bring the passion of R&B into today’s Pop culture, her signature voice, style and look, will never cease to turn heads, perk ears, and most likely captivate minds…
– The first time I heard of The Layabouts brings me back the the first half of the 2000’s. Back at the time, Olivier Velay, who was in charge of Stalwart Records, warmly told me about them. Suggesting it would be cool welcomin’ them for an interview on the first version of Indamixworldwide. Something he ended up doin’ for us. With, from then, Leigh Darlow and Alex Paschali widely showin’ us as to how they are a force to definitely count with.
Darlow, the man behind the rhythms, and Paschali, the guitarist and orchestrator, first met back in 2001 in home city London. Off back various projects they happened to be working on in the same recording studio. They delivered their first release – ‘Small Talk EP’ – 3 years later on Soulworks Recordings. Eventually collaborating with Alix Alvarez on ‘Feelin Right’ and from then progressively establishing their reputation as a driving force. One might remember their remix of David Harness & Roland Clark‘s memorable ‘The Deejay’s An Alien’ for Foliage Records back in 2008. Or their rework of Choklate‘s ‘The Tea’ on Reel People Music two years after. Not to mention the outstanding ‘Thank You’ feat. Pete Simpson with remix courtesy of Reelsoul. Or ‘Perfectly’ with Shea Soul which received the remix treatment of Atjazz.
As many gems which would lead to countless others. From Renn‘s ‘Nights In Africa’ to Reel People‘s ‘Sure’. Eventually bringing them to be managed by Reel People Music label head Oli Lazarus.
On year on, and they would deliver one of the cuts of 2011, while remixing Imaani‘s ‘Found My Light’. Then Tarantulaz‘s ‘I Wasn’t Kidding’. Meanwhile, they would introduce us to Portia Monique with ‘Do Better’ in 2012. Eventually sharing the duties soon after with Omar on the hypnotic ‘As Long As You Believe’. Their debut-album – ‘Future Retro’ – following soon after. With 2013 seein’ Portia Monique joinin’ them for like an encore on ‘Colours Of Love’…
More recently, back in 2016, Choklate and The Layabouts‘ paths would cross once more on ‘Wide Open’. Meanwhile the twosome gave a brilliant boost to Tony Momrelle ‘This Could Be Us’ soon after. With their remixes of Portia Monique‘s ‘Ecstasy’ comin’ out a month later. Another year goin’ and they would make a beautiful return along with Imaani on ‘Stay’, therefore marking the return to activity of German label Foliage Records after a 3 years hiatus.