Allgemein, Concerts

God Bless Naturally 7

! Naturally 7 are amazing !
There are not enough words to describe how talented and lovely those 7 lads are. So I will give my best to review yesterday’s brilliant concert. I’ve been looking forward to this concert since their announcement and you know that means a lot since I’m going to gigs quite a lot lately. But you can count on Naturally 7 to give a 110 % and to make these two hours the best you’ve ever had.
At 8 they started with “Jericho” and “Wall of Sound” two of my favourite songs! Each time it is mesmerising what they can do with their voices! Plus it is very familiar now and I’m already dancing along which is what I love to do. Roger always asks the audience: “How many of you see us for the first time?” And always quite a few people raise their hands which surprises me every time. But just as much people have seen them before and come back as friends. I would also like to mention that each time they are playing in Zurich the crowd is incredibly loud and is cheering almost from the start. This really doesn’t happen a lot but Naturally 7 manages to turn the quiet Swiss people into a loud crowd within just 1 song. Yesterday evening it was even louder than the last time!
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In my interview in July they told me that we are very loud and that they love to come here because of it. They said it again yesterday and I have to agree. You could really see that they were enjoying it too. As you might know Dwight is originally from Jamaica so they covered the Rastafarian song “Rivers of Babylon” which was sang by Brent Dowe and Trevor McNaughton in 1970. Later it was covered by the famous Boney M. It was an early highlight and a change to their set which I didn’t even expect.
Tonight they also sang two songs of the new record Both Sides Now. Roger explained that the new one is quite different to the older ones since they were singing acappella for the most part which differs to their usual Vocalplay. The first one “Going Home” is a beautiful ballade and I sat back and just enjoyed those angelic voices. Before the next song they asked us if there were couples in the house and how long they are married. Eventually we found a couple who are married for 40 years! So they dedicated this love song to those two people. BEAUTIFUL!


Before the next Roger asked the youngest in the audience how old they were. So he told a little story about himself and his life. Bottom line was that when you are 10 years old you don’t know how easy your life is without any worries. A few years ago they found the song called “Stressed out” by twentyone pilots and they Naturally 7’ed it yesterday and I absolutely loved it! Warren the “Drummer” got his solo part and it is seriously amazing! You could feel the drums vibrating even if there weren’t any to be seen! They continued with another cover “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley. Just WOW.
As many people know three of the 7 members are originally from England: Roger and his brother Warren and Garfield. So the three of them are each an “English man in New York” and the whole Kaufleuten sings along. They remix this song with Jay Z’s and Alicia Keys’ “New York” and they bring the “Jamaican Man in New York” back at the end. Dwight then takes the whole Kaufleuten to Jamaica while we sing “One Love”. I felt a lot of love in the room and it was embracing everyone. Funny enough on the way home Bob Marley’s “One Love” came on the radio and my concert buddy and I smiled at each other.
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Before the encore they sang another cover “Fix you” by Coldplay. I’ve seen them in Frankfurt this summer (click on Coldplay to read more) and they were good but I adored Naturally 7’s version of this song. It is a quiet highlight of their 2 hour set. And the last song brings the party back! Dancing, clapping, jumping and singing and the whole Kaufleuten went crazy. Just before they left Kelz – the bass – played the chords to the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” and naturally we Swiss people know what to do. I think they were quiet a bit surprised how loud and well we sang that part.
And as always Naturally 7 says Goodbye with a bow and these words:

God Bless You

And yes, God Bless Naturally 7. 7 incredible musicians and lovely people who take time to meet their fans or friends as they say right after the show. Everyone left that night with a smile on their face and I think this is their goal which they achieve every time. So if you have never seen Naturally 7 live you missed out BIG TIME! So stay tuned to my blog and you won’t miss their next concert. Can’t wait that long? Have a look at my instagram and facebook stories to get a little sneak peek or get their newest record “Both Sides Now
Have you seen Naturally 7 live? Share the love in the comment section below.

Allgemein, New Music

The Queen of Sprock

Anastacia is one powerful woman. I was lucky enough to see her live a few times and each time she is absolutely incredible. Her shows are full of energy, love and laughter. She must love Switzerland since she comes here once a year and it is always a special show for example Live at Sunset, Bosshard Arena or at Kongresshaus on the day the Swiss national football team played.
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As you can see she’s been touring for a few years without new music but now finally we get to hear 13 new songs. On 15th Sept she released “Evolution” and her first single “Caught in the Middle”
I love the first song because it is super catchy and sounds so Anastacia-like. Well actually the whole album sounds so like her and though she the new songs will add new value to her live shows. “Redlight” and “Stamina” are two beautiful songs and if you know her history you can appreciate it even more. After going through tough times it is important to balance your energy and know on what to spend it. So those two songs teach you to slow down and build your stamina for the right things in life.
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“Boxer” is a powerful song and I cannot wait to hear it live! It’ll be so energising and will give you strength to do whatever you want. The next song “My everything” is a beautiful love song and a wonderful ballade sang by Anastacia’s incredible voice. It will give you goose-bumps – promise! “Nobody Loves Me Better” and “Reckless” are two party easy up-tempo songs followed by another powerful very soulful ballade called “Not Coming Down”.

I’m better than before!
I am rising high
I’m stronger than I’ve been before

Anastacia sings in “Before”. Some powerful lyrics and very inspiring. I love when she sings super low and in “Before” she does exactly that. With “Pain” she literally sings her pain away. In “Why” she asks the questions we all ask ourselves. After these very thoughtful songs we need a little break that “Boomerang” provides. It is a super catchy rocky song and I can already imagine Anastacia singing it on stage. We end the record on high with “Higher Livin'” which reminds me a lot of “I’m Outta Love” but cares?! I love both songs and they are brilliant to have a party with πŸ™‚

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Anastacia always takes time to talk to her fans

“Evolution” proves that Anastacia is one of the biggest female singers! She can do it all – the soulful ballade, the party song, the rock song and the meaningful anthems. She created her special genre for a reason. She is just the best at “Sprocking” and this album is arranged beautifully. So do make sure to have a listen and if she comes to a town near you – GO! You won’t regret it.
Are you part of the Fanily too? Let me know in the comments below or give me a like on facebook, instagram or twitter.
 
 

Allgemein

Introducing: My country music favourites

I’ve been a country music fan for ages. Unfortunately here in Switzerland it is quite difficult to keep up to date or to see some of your favourites live because not a lot of people care for this music genre around here. I personally don’t understand why since country music is so versatile. Let me introduce you a few of my favourites.
Carrie Underwood – The new Queen of Country
She won American Idol back in 2005 and her debut single “Inside your Heaven” went straight to No. 1! With that her stellar music career began. Each of her songs tell a story whether it’s a sweet revenge on a cheating husband or a homage to being to being an All-American Girl. She knows exactly what her audience wants and her live shows meant to be fantastic. But she is not only pretty and talented she is also very funny which she will prove at this years CMA’s. The country music awards are being co-hosted by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood for the 10th time this year on Nov. 8. Have a look into two of my favourite videos below:

Sounds good? Get your copy here via Apple Music or Cede.ch.
Luke Bryan – The sexiest hip shake since Elvis
I remember that I fell in love with his music when I heard “Do I” for the first time. He went on to have huge success and his “Tailgate & Tanlines” album is one of my all time favourite. All of his songs are amazing and I love all of them which doesn’t happen quite that often. Luke is charming and very funny and his live shows are sold out within minutes. To see him and Carrie Underwood live would be one of my dreams. I love to listen to him in the car where I can sing “Muckalee Creek Water” as loud as I can. Here are two videos which I adore:

You won’t regret it if you buy one of his records. Trust me πŸ™‚ Here’s the direct link to Cede.ch or Apple Music.
Lady AntebellumΒ – The country music trio
I had the pleasure to see them live at a festival in Switzerland called Live at Sunset. It was one magic night! I’ve been a big fan ever since they released their second single “Lookin’ for a Good Time” in 2008. I followed their journey and when I heard “Need You Now” on the radio of Swiss station I couldn’t have been prouder. This song turned out to be a global hit and made them go on a small European tour – Lucky me! πŸ™‚ They don’t just write they’re own songs themselves they also lend a hand to fellow country music artists like Luke Bryan. So please listen to their wonderful music below:

Remember that song? Check out their other stuff on Apple Music or Cede.ch.
Lady A has also performed at the Country Music Festival in Gstaad which is this weekend. Have a look at their programme.Β The organisers always manage to bring famous country music stars to Switzerland and they love it here. Only last year Brett Eldredge (“Don’t Ya“) took us on his Swiss journey via Instagram. As you seeΒ I could go on and on with incredible artists who are unknown to most people in Europe but I do want to mention a few more: Sam Hunt (“Take Your Time“), Florida Georgia Line (“Cruise“), Little Big Town (“Pontoon“) and finally Chris Young (“Voices“). Make sure to give them a listen because it’s well worth it.
I will start a country music themed week with this post. I have quite a few goodies for you to come this week and if I was able to gain just one new member of the country music club it was well worth it.
Follow me on Kekoas Social Media accounts to keep up to date: instagram, twitter and facebook.
 

Allgemein, Concerts

Mary J. Blige @ Live at Sunset 09.07.17

It took me two weeks to write this blog post because I didn’t know what to tell you. I’ve never seen Mary J. Blige before and I was very much looking forward to her concert. As a bonus Naturally 7 supported her for this gig at this beautiful venue. Have a look at the review of their concert by clicking on: Naturally 7.
It was pouring rain until Naturally 7 came on stage and warmed us up. After a 15mins break we were ready for her. She came on stage in sky high red overknees kind of like the guy in the musical “Kinky Boots”. I thought she would have a huge entourage with her but she had around 8 musicians and backing singers and no dancers at all! So she danced on her own and walked up and down the stage.

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Mary J. Blige with her Kinky Boots

The first few songs I quite liked and she held an empowering speech for women that every men should treat his woman like a queen and there should be only one queen in his life. So this made me suspicious and I started googleing her and there it was. Her ex-husband had an affair with her 28 year old protΓ©gΓ© and is now entitled to 30K per month. I’d be furious too but honestly anger doesn’t suit her very well.
She changed her kinky boots after an hour and still was screaming her heart out, raging about men and empowering women. It kinda got old very quick. I did not know one song and I think everybody else felt the same way. So they started to leave allthough they paid a lot of money to see her. The ranks started to clear out and even the standing people left about midway through.

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Beautiful setting @ Live at Sunset

Finally the last three songs were “No More Drama” – YES PLEASE! – “One” and “Family Affair”. For the last song I went down to dance because I told myself I paid for it I need to enjoy at least this one. Mary J. Blige left without an encore and without properly saying Good-bye. Let me tell you I was left speechless. I could not believe that this was her show. I expected it to be quiet at times but also very dancy but nothing of that sorts happened.
I was massively disappointed and only Naturally 7 saved this evening and my money’s worth. I really don’t like to write a review like this but I have to tell you the truth and I would never see her again after this concert. It was very unprofessional of her and she clearly did not want to be there at all. I get that she is furious and heart-broken but sorry as a professional musician the show must go on as hard as it sounds. If she’d work in a normal job she couldn’t pull this off either.
Have you been to Mary J. Blige’s concert? I would love to hear your opinion in the comment section below.

Allgemein, Concerts

Katie Melua @ Live at Sunset 20.07.17

This is the 2nd concert of the festival series Live at Sunset which I am attending. It’s been already 2 weeks since I’ve seen Naturally 7 and Mary J. Blige there. Thanks to a good deal we were able to afford a 2nd concert.  Katie Melua hasn’t been very active lately and this is one of only 5 concerts this year.
To be honest with you I was very sceptical about this concert since I really don’t like her song “9 million bicycles”. I’ve realised now it’s because if I hear that song just once a day it will be stuck in my head forever!
For the 3rd song “Crawling Up A Hill” I decided to sit down and listen to the song with my eyes closed. I think it was a great idea so I could listen to her voice without any distraction. I did this because Seven asked us to do this at his set at the Gurtenfestival and I really enjoyed it so I had to try it with her too.

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Katie explaining stories

Before every song she would explain the story behind it and this is something I really enjoy. So her concert consists of 21 little stories told by a silky voice. Katie Melua is one hell of a songwriter who turns a story into a song. She stood there with her guitar with 4 other awesome musicians and turned this into a wonderful quiet concert. (I was really glad since I had a massive headache that day)
After the “Plane Song” it started to rain or should I say pour down! So Katie said “Ohh has it started to rain? Should we wait until you put your ponchos on?” I loved that! We went to sit in the back because I wasn’t particularly keen on getting soaked since I’m battleing a cold anyway. As soon as I sat down I got a text by a friend telling me that Chester Bennington committed suicide and I didn’t know why but I suddenly felt really sad and Katie’s next few slow song increased that feeling.

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Katie Melua with a beautiful sky

Luckily she decided to cover Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart” and this lifted my spirit. I love this song and Katie Melua should be doing more up-tempo songs. It really suits her. I think this was my favourite song of the night. Then there was a little break so people could use the restrooms and stock up on drinks.
“Thank you Stars” is a wonderful song and my favourite of the 2nd part of the show.

Some call it faith, some call it love
Some call it guidance from above
You are the reason we found ours
So thank you stars

Aren’t these beautiful lyrics?
After “Perfect World” she sang her hit song “Nine Million Bicycles” and the audience “Ahh’d” and “Ohh’d” and I thought please don’t be singing this song πŸ™‚ And of course this song stuck in my head all night!

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Me and my guitar

For the two encore songs she stood alone on stage just with her guitar and her beautiful voice. She covered Shirley Bassey’s “Diamonds are forever” and sang “I Cried For You”. A very slow and quiet finish but it suited her and the whole concert. I enjoyed the concert but I don’t think I would see her again. She is a cute girl but I don’t particularly fancy her music even if I loved a few songs of her.
P.S: Have a look at the title of the set list. THE greatest set list ever!! Isn’t this too funny? πŸ™‚

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Katie Melua set list

 
How did you like the concert? Please let me know in the comments below!

Allgemein, Concerts

Naturally 7 @ live at Sunset 09.07.17 Including interview !

For weeks I was excited to see this wonderful band of 7 singers aka musicians at this beautiful venue at sunset. So when the time came instead of sunshine it was pouring rain. But as soon as they took the stage the sun came out and it was magical.

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Live at Sunset

We know what to expect but it is always interesting to see how people who don’t know Naturally 7 react to them when they hear them for the first time. After just one song they had the whole audience cheering. Everyone loved them! This happens every time we see them and it was brilliant to see that even in a posh venue with expensive ticket prices people react the same way.
I was basically dancing on my seat and already the 2nd song was my favourite “Jericho”. What makes a Naturally 7 performance so great is not only the mesmerising vocal play but also their performance. They are not just standing there like a normal a cappella group. They have proper dance routines and what makes it incredible is that they are imitating the instruments. So you see and hear what normal musicians do but there are no instruments!! Every sound is created by their voices. Unbelievable.
“Wall of Sound” and “Feel it (in the air tonight” followed and by now they gained a few new fans of their incomparable sound. Then they talk to you and explain why they sing songs and you feel like you get to know them just a little bit. So three of them are born in England which makes the next song perfect: “Englishmen in New York”. They mix a little “New York” by Jay-Z & Alicia Keys into the song and the two Jamaicans bring some reggae “One Love” by Bob Marley to the table.

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Naturally 7

Two weeks ago I was able to witness “Fix you” by Coldplay and yesterday by Naturally 7 and both versions are brilliant. Unfortunately after an hour they had to finish their set to make way to Mary J. Blige. Little did I know that the best part of the evening was over.
I tried my best to describe this bands performance but only if you see them live you really understand what they are about. Lucky for us they are on tour this fall to promote their newest record “Both Sides Now” which will be released October, 13th. I will be reviewing the album on this blog in the new music category. After a few US shows they tour the Netherlands and France and yes! also Zurich, Switzerland again. Check out their website for US, France and the Netherlands dates: Naturallyseven.com . Tickets for their show in Zurich on Nov, 7th at Kaufleuten are still available. Follow this link: kaufleuten.ch

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new album coming out soon

Naturally 7 have agreed to give me my first interview for this blog. I am so grateful to them and I was really excited to meet Roger Thomas, musical director, and his brother Warren, drums.
Yesterday’s venue was quite special. What was your most special venue you’ve ever played in?
Roger: This is a hard question. Things are special for different reasons. About six years ago we played Montreux for Quincy Jones’ 75th Birthday. What made this one special was that we were scheduled to sing only one song. All the people on the show were his friends, Legends Herbie Hancock, Patti Austin. He didn’t know who we were. We were there because of Claude Nobs. During the performance of Wall of Sound Quincy got up and you could see he was so excited “Who are these guys?” and right after we finished he came on stage wanted to know who we were and where we came from and how do we do what we do and we became friends from that point on. So I think that was a nice day.
Warren: Yeah, that was really special. Places that we performed that were special are of course Madison Square Garden because that’s home. It is always special to play there because it’s a legendary place. In London the Royal Albert Hall and Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club. When people ask us around the world where are some of the better places you performed we always say Zurich and I’m not just saying that because that’s where we are now. But anytime we played like Kaufleuten or Club x-tra there is always a good energy – as you know. We get that in other places too but it’s always consistent in Zurich. It’s one of those places when you see it on the tour calendar that you look forward to. 
Really? Usually Swiss people are quite reserved.
Roger: That’s what they tell us. But for us – we’ve never seen that.
Yes, your show is special for example yesterday it’s quite a posh place and you rocked it. So people we’re like hold on who are they?
Roger: Yes, because they don’t know us. For us it’s always fun to play a show like yesterday where the majority of the people are probably not that familiar with us. It cost a lot of money so maybe they don’t respond the way Zurich usually does but that’s never the case.
So you do realise on stage when people are mesmerised by you when they see you for the first time?
Roger: That’s our goal when they hear us for the first time. That’s why we played with Michael BublΓ©. We knew that people did not come because of us and didn’t know what to expect – some guys who sing prior to Michael. Our job is not just to warm up the crowd but take you away as fans. So you say I like those guys and I want to see them after the show.
That’s what happened to me. I knew you but I didn’t know how good you are live and every time you come here now I go see you.
Roger: And we appreciate that. So from stage we do realise that people turn their heads sideways and go what exactly is going on and by the end of the 2nd/3rd song they go like “I like them”. We try to make sure that we give the best performance we can possibly give.
One guy next to us was exactly like that!
Warren: For someone like you who’s seen us you say to people like that wait till you see them. So the same thing that you do is what we do. We know that people do that as well.
You changed your formation quite a bit over time. How did you manage to stay a unity on stage?
Roger: Well five of us are still the same so really it was the two positions that changed twice. So three people have sung the bass and the guitar. So the fact that the base is still the same keeps that same sound. But it’s hard to find a bass or any position and do what we do. So we feel blessed that we found the right people all the time.
So to me it’s quite special because the bass does sound more or less the same every time I see you guys even though the people changed.
Roger: We knew Kelz from before. We all come from a church back ground where we know different singers. But everybody can’t do it. To be honest if we loose a member we first are afraid because you will always loose something. It’s not like you are having a bass or guitar player and when the new guy comes he just plays the same thing. Even then it’s not exactly the same but with singing even more so. Nobody sings exactly the same. And of course his personality is important. We all live together and I spend as much time with the group as I do with my real family – if not more. So we feel truly blessed that the 7 guys you see on stage really get along. We are like a family so we have our ups and downs and fight about this or that but most of the time everything is very good.
Us fans we do realise this on stage.
Roger: Yes, you can see it. It’s hard to hide. People try to hide those things on stage but you can see it. We really like each other.
Warren: Also the outgoing members. They didn’t leave in a fight. They left because of family reasons. We still talk to them, they are still our friends, we still see them from time to time. They live in the same community as we do. So we understand if they leave because they want to spend more time with their family. If we are in town we tell them to come to our show or we call on them – which has happened before – that our old members filled in for the new ones. We still have a good relationship.
That is great! So I’ve read a few things how you founded the group but how did you come up with this special idea to play instruments with your voices?
Roger: We started in church and sang harmonies together. How do you make yourself different from the next group. Warren and I are brothers and our father was very instrumental. When we were watching Marvin Gaye he taught us what made him different or Michael Jackson – this is what makes him different. So as a group we were looking to do something different. You know because we are from the Bronx, New York, Queens all these different sections. We like hip hop. Let’s combine the things we like beat boxing that type of thing with R&B, Gospel and Pop. All the things we know and then Jazz too. It’s the Bobby McFerrin’s of the world and Jazz that imitates instruments. What if we bring all those things together. It’s no different than a chef. A chef brings all those things together and you taste something for the first time. Really is it something new? No it’s not. New as in they made something up and in bringing things together that you haven’t tasted together before.
Warren: They add a little mint to the steak. Never had mint to a steak and then you go: Oh that actually works.
Very good comparison.
Roger: So this is what we did. We brought these things together over the years and once we found out Warren can do the drums we can build a foundation – we realised we need a bass. Don’t just sing words we need instruments. Little by little we evolved. We can all be part of this band and imitate instruments. So that became the goal to this point where can we walk  on stage and somebody has never ever seen us before goes: “Ohhh” *Surprising sound*. We sound like a band and that’s the goal. Like you saw last night I don’t know how many hundreds of people have never seen us before but how long does it take for them to go like this.
Warren: Towards the end of the show you want them to actually forget that we are doing it all with our voices. We want to enjoy themselves because we are almost competing with a real band that’s there. They figured out what we are doing, sounds great, now can they just enjoy the music.
Roger: When we sing Englishmen in New York we want them to just enjoy the song. We’ve already established that we’re a band and now enjoy the song. We feel like we’ve accomplished this and it’s taken time and we are going out of our way to make it look easy because that looks good.
Warren: It takes time and hard work and talented people and voices. If you compete with the sounds of a band you need to make sure that the person who’s mixing it can make that come across.
Thank you for doing this interview. I am so very grateful.

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Roger and Warren Thomas