First Listen: Sheila Ford – Share (DJ Spen, Earl Tutu & John Khan Blues Mix) (Quantize Recordings)
From Sheila Ford‘s ‘Here You Are’ album, the circumstancial ‘Share’… Mind you, we’re on Dec. 31 (2015) by the time writing these lines! Along with this cut with initial production work by the likes of Michele Chiavarini now given a new set of remixes. Therefore displaying the various facets of a versatile singer. As beautifully expressed on this rework courtesy of DJ Spen, Earl Tutu and John Khan. With the whole seeing her scatting in a classy and laidback jazzy environment. Itself perfectly fitting with the tones of her voice as a matter of fact…
Timeless and classy. This makin’ of it an ideal piece of music to share with you now. With best wishes of a Happy New Year to you and yours…
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– Sheila Ford is a graduate of the elite Berklee College of Music, Boston, MS where she majored in Music Education. In addition to exceptional vocals, she plays the piano, organ and has studied several woodwind, brass, string and percussion instruments. And although she has a special love for Jazz (Ella Fitzgerald is one of her earliest and best loved influences), she has dazzled audiences in nearly every musical style. From Jazz to Funk, R&B, Blues, Soul, House, Latin and even Rap. As many factors which explain her obvious ease in so many different moods. And makin’ of her a sought after performer.
Therefore, no wonder how she came to collaborate with so many producers. From Charles Dockins with whom she made her debut back in 1995 on ‘Higher Love’. To DJ Pope‘s ‘Moody State Of Mind’ on Black Vinyl Records 7 years after, but also ‘Beautiful Day’ in 2007. Then ‘When Will There Be’ in 2009 or ‘So Into U’ in 2015. Not to mention DJ Spen‘s Quantize Recordings where she released her only album to date – ‘Here You Are’ – the same year. This in addition to an impressive series of goodies, on her own or as a featured artist.
Among her chosen cuts for the label, ‘Oh I (Miss U)’. A gem she recorded with The Muthafunkaz and Marc Evans although for Code Red Recordings at the time. This with remix courtesy of Atjazz. But also ‘Why Can’t You See’, as reworked by DJ Spen and Louie Vega. Not to mention the jazzy ‘Share’ (on her own) and ‘Harmony’ along with Kiko Navarro. These in addition to ‘La Costa’ and its original Latin Mix by the likes of DJ Spen, Gary Hudgins and Reelsoul. Eventually joinin’ forces with the latter on his own Reelsoul Musik label back in 2017 on ‘Found A Way’…
– Although relatively new as a production pair, both John Khan and Earl Tutu are no new comers…
Khan eventually started producing back in 1992. Responsible for ‘Take Me I’m Yours’ featuring the vocal talents of Karen Minnott.
Growing up and DJing alongside Unique 3, a collective from Bradford, he came to meet Chris Dawkins (Earl Tutu) back in the day. John kept on producing for a while before taking a break from the scene for a few years. Studying the artform of mixing and mastering during that time, he decided to resurface along with long time friend Dawkins.
“I started playing guitar at my father’s Baptist Church in West Yorkshire at the the age of 15 in 1976”, explains Earl Tutu. “Within 2 years, during the summer of 1978 myself and some other young members of the church formed a band called Freedom. During this time, EMI reps from London came to the church to hear the band. They had been made aware of us via Gospel Concerts we had performed at. My father, Pastor Dawkins and Brother King an elder at the church turned the reps from EMI away, saying the children would not be playing the devils music!
As you can guess, I hid my passion for playing guitar from my father, sneaking out of the house to play gigs and record.
Coming home from a gig one night I was welcomed by the sight of my belongings in black bin bags – I had been found out! 2013 brought me back to the good old days collaborating once again with life long friend and fellow artist John Khan with some fresh ideas… Soulful House style with some interesting releases in the pipeline…”
And the fact is Tutu and Khan have established themselves among the most in-demand producers. Thus standing on an impressive pile of killer gems. Either under their own guise as for other artists. The first traces of them bringin’ us back to 2013 and the release of the aptly titled ‘The Dreams Come True’ which they reworked for JoioDJ & Chanelle on Dejavoo Records.
From then on, one could see their names circulating with new releases at least once a month. This bringin’ them to collaborate with countless luminaries. From Darryl D’Bonneau and Cinnamon Brown on the stellar ‘House Of Love’ (Purple Music). To Tracy Hamlin on ‘Emotion’ for Expansion House. But also Sheila Ford on the jazzy ‘Share’ (Quantize Recordings). Not to mention Tracebeatz (‘Won’t Be The One’), Tasha LaRae (‘Find My Way’) and Michelle Weeks (‘So Incredible’) both on Spen‘s label. Meanwhile they would soon after retouch Kimara Lovelace‘s ‘When Can Our Love Begin’ with the latter. This in addition to Kathy Brown‘s firing ‘Things You Do’ and/or SuSu Bobien‘s ‘Help Is On The Way’. Then, more recently The L.O.V.E. Project‘s ‘I’m In Love’.
They eventually opened their own account on Booker T‘s Liquid Deep label back in 2016. Sharing the bill with Mike City successively on ‘Everybody Needs Somebody’ then ‘Lately We’. Meanwhile, they joined forces twice as well with Asia Yarwood. This with ‘New Faith’ and ‘Lies’ on Quantize Recordings.