This is the debut of a brand new feature here at Blogcritics.org. Every month we will be choosing an artist to feature, giving you the reader an inside look into their music and career. Sometimes you will recognize the name, sometimes it may be someone you've never heard of, but it will always be a great talent, and we hope to shine a unique light on our featured artists.
Gretchen Lieberum is breaking ground all over the jazz and soul communities with her innovative mix of old jazz and all things popular. The recent release of her third album, Siren Songs is being hailed as a sultry, sexy collection of warm songs for a rainy day. For this and many other reasons you will read about in the coming weeks, Blogcritics is proud to make Gretchen Lieberum our very first "Featured Artist of the Month".
The Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter was born and raised in Berkeley and credits that environment for having a big impact on her sound today. Gretchen says,
There is a very specific sound that reminds me of the Bay Area. When I was growing up in Berkeley there were a lot of local bands that were mixing jazz, soul, and hip-hop, and it is a sound that has effected what I write today.
And what is it exactly that she writes today? It's an eclectic mix of old and new jazz, with drum loops and samples that will remind you of what's being played on the hip-hop charts. It has the feel of classic jazz, with a bright new shine and it's delivered with a warm and solid voice.
Gretchen also credits her father with turning her on to jazz, saying he is a "huge fanatic." While growing up she listened to Billie Holliday, Nina Simmone, and Sarah Vaughan as well as the greats of 70's soul such as Stevie Wonder and Shuggie Otis. Zero 7 and Koop, a Swedish band that incorporates samples of old jazz records with live instrumentation are just two of the newer artists who have influenced her on Siren Songs.