Mon. Mar. 19, 2018

Ralf GUM & Portia Monique – Free Is All I Wanna Be

Tennerz: Ralf GUM feat. Portia Monique – Free Is All I Wanna Be (Ralf GUM Main Mix) (GOGO Music)

We had ‘Take Me To My Love’ (featuring Monique Bingham). But also ‘Fly Free’ (featuring Robert Owens). Not to mention ‘Linda’ (featuring Oluhle)… As many gems which highly have contributed makin’ of Ralf GUM‘s ‘Never Leaves You’ an essential album back in 2012.

Now, the good news is we’re on our way to have its follow up. A new offering which Ralf has entitled ‘In My City’. Therefore celebrating his integration in South Africa. And, more precisely in Johannesburg where he relocated a couple of years ago. Meanwhile, no doubt as to how ‘Free Is All I Wanna Be’ – its first offshot – has some autobiographical resonance to a certain extend. A sweet soothing gem that sees him teamin’ up with Seattle-based songstress Portia Monique. A singer whom you might remember for her collaborations with Reel People.

As already expressed, ‘Free Is All I Wanna Be’, although being a love song, seems to be leaving the door open to different interpretations. This adding to the undeniable emotion it spreads. From the singer’s sultry interpretation to its subtle arrangements. Ralf GUM givin’ it a deep atmospheric feel on its Main Mix. With Phil Kullmann‘s lush key parts comin’ up as the icing on the cake.

His Reprise Mix being more of a delicious kind of acoustic soulful slice of music.

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Portia Monique has a appealing sound that is instantly recognizable. With thanks to a style that is a seamless fusion of Soul, R&B and Jazz. Better say her voice is as distinctive as her look. As a matter of fact, this 6ft diva woos her listeners with unique and edgy song concepts. Comin’ up with jazzy vocal tricks, and complex vocal harmonies. In other words, 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 up her local reputation through weekly performances at lounges. But also while singing with other local artists. Her first single – ‘Radio’- becoming an instant hit on Hot Jams 88.9 FM back in the day. Meanwhile, 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…

Gene Douglas, but also Jan ‘Yannick’ Elverfeld, Lars and Marek Bartkuhn aka Needs, Mousse T… Not that many are the ones who served as the ambassadors of House Music in Germany back in the 90’s. With Ralf GUM adding his name to the list with his weekly residency in the Würzburg area. Then givin’ birth to his GOGO Music label back in 2001. Eventually delivering his first single for the label – ‘Nobody Can Touch Me’ – the year after. And God only knows how, from then on, he would establish himself and his stable among the most respected forces in the circuit. One step after another…

Speakin’ of his label, he would be for much in the progressive recognition of Phil Kullmann aka Raw Artistic Soul. But also standing among the first ones to have released a production by the likes of South Africa’s famous Black Coffee (cf. ‘Turn Me On’ feat. Bucie) back in 2009. Meanwhile, as a producer he came to collaborate with countless luminaries along with time. From Monique Bingham on the 2008 released ‘Kissing Strangers’. The first in a series comprising ‘Take Me To My Love’ and ‘The Pap’ among others… To Robert Owens (‘Fly Free’). Progressively establishin’ a strong connection with the South African scene and artists like Bucie, Zano, Brian Tempa and Sir LSG. Enough at the end to give him the will to relocate to Johannesburg along with his family in 2012.

‘In My City’, his third album, most likely came as a celebration of this new life of his. Seeing him sharing the duties with the legendary Hugh Masekela (on ‘With Her Hand’ and ‘In The City’). But also welcoming Omar (‘Love Core’), Monique Bingham (‘The Pap’) and Portia Monique (‘Free Is All I Wanna Be’). Not to mention Dele Sosimi (‘Bi Na Ba N’Jo’).

Although no date has been officially announced, a new album by the likes of Ralf GUM should see the light in 2018. Meanwhile ‘We Repeat’ along with Paul Randolph has all the ingredients to help us holdin’ the line until then…

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