On her fourth solo album, Velours, Valerie draws on the full range of her talents forged over 20+ years working with music luminaries Ashford & Simpson, Nina Simone, Maya Angelou, Debbie Harry & Billy Preston to deliver a breathtaking, spell-binding performance that draws the listener in and never lets go.
Recorded in the South of France and NYC, the 11 original songs on Velours propel the listener from the transcendent luminosity and opening invocation of Love Divine to the exuberant Get Funkay, from the unstoppable New York City Streets to the heart-stopping ballad, Light in My Life. The mesmerizing funk groove of title song Velours literally flows into the American-songbook inspired Linger (with accompanying string quartet), while future R+B classic It’s Got To Be You plays smooth counterpoint to the reggae-inspired Phased and the gospel blues of 30 Days. The deep groove of On & On flows like a river, and Love Will Keep Me Strong brings us back to the source.
Backed up by a band of internationally acclaimed musicians and vocalists from NYC, France and Guinea, Velours takes the listener on a journey through smooth soul, feel-good R+B, intimate ballads, sun-drenched reggae and pure funk. Featuring A-list musicians playing live on each song, Valerie has conjured up a hot, authentic sound, recording live with real musicians. “Real music you can touch.”
From Valerie : The music on Velours was born in France, both in recording and as a title. During our first session in Provence, in February, 2014, I knew magic was happening. One month later, we had a second session in NYC. Just as magical, we recorded five songs that day. The third session, in June, 2015 was again in France. Velours emerged from those three days of recording, six songs in France & five in NYC, with overdubs in NYC & France, then mixed in France by Jérôme Buigues. And the title? Years ago I heard people in Paris say ‘velours’ when something was cool. I loved the word, the sound & the usage so much it inspired the title song. In addition to recording on both sides of the Atlantic, the music on Velours coincided with my reconnecting with long-lost family in France. Magical really….an incredible journey of re-discovery, history and love.
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