Mica Paris, London

Fri, 22nd August 2008

Proud Galleries

Mica Paris
+ Special guests and DJs

7.30pm – £10

It is with great pleasure that we welcome Mica Paris to Proud Galleries. A fantastic night will kick off at 7.30pm with Mica on-stage at 9pm, followed by an excellent mix of top dj's playing soul/funk/house classics til 2am

If you have not been to Proud Galleries yet, you are in for a treat. Nestled inside the Camden Market complex, the building is actually called The Horse Hospital. The 400 capacity main-room doubles up as a cutting-edge art gallery by day – right now there is a Sid Vicious photo exhibition on. Carrying on through the main room you come to the stables where the main bar is situated. There are a dozen “stables” in here, converted into comfortable reclining areas with cusioned seats and tables. Great for a drink and a chat. Carry on still further and you come to the garden terrace where you can have a drink and a smoke, complete with deckchairs! Proud is an unmissable experience.

And so, we come on to Mica Paris, an artist of great versatility and talent, who has built up a massive global fanbase over her distinguished career.

As a teenager, despite possessing a voice rich in maturity and evocation, Michelle was keen to narrate her romantic and personal concerns. She started on this path by joining dance act Hollywood Beyond and appearing on their album, If (1985). After a brief period recording and touring with the band, Paris signed a solo record deal with 4th & Broadway when she was 17 years old.

“My One Temptation”, the lead single from her debut album So Good (1988) was the mid-tempo hors-d’oeuvre of material to come. The album highlighted Paris’s vocal and personal perspectives – from the sexy (Breathe Life Into Me), the artistically contemplative (Nothing Hits Your Heart Like Soul Music) to the slyly buoyant (Like Dreamers Do). Paris’s duet with acclaimed singer Will Downing was a collaboration that illustrated her professional far-sightedness and vocal competence (they covered Donny Hathaway & Roberta Flack’s Where Is The Love?). In just one album Paris was debutant, duet partner and co-writer.

Just a year later, the album’s successor, Contribution (1990) was released. It featured the track If I Love U 2 Nite, written for Paris by Prince, who during a London after-party performance handed her his microphone in the crowd while he accompanied her on guitar, on stage. Producers were always keen to work with Paris, and she found no shortage of collaborators. The benefits were obvious: their joint success raised their individual profiles and could lead to further commissions within the music industry at large.

With Omar Lye Fook, a classically trained musician with an unparalleled street soul reputation, Paris created arguably the greatest British street soul track in I Should Have Known Better (1990). It was issued on the b-side to I Never Felt Like This Before, which was promptly embraced as a club classic. Ray Hayden, an east London-based producer and singer-songwriter, also teamed up with Paris to make the most of her gospel background and romanticism. They recorded three tracks: the ballad Waiting For The Morning, the haunting gospel Bless The Day and the duet One on One (1992).

Despite sealing her status as one of the leading Black-British soul singers by collaborating with the rising production talents of the day, even more collaborations and featured projects followed. From recording with Anita Baker, Bonnie Rait and Natalie Cole on the album “Nelson Mandela: An International Tribute For A Free South Africa” (1990) to providing the title track to Isaac Julien’s Young Soul Rebels movie soundtrack (1991) to working with saxophonist Courtney Pine (Redemption Song/1992), British dance act The Stereo MCs (Don’t Let Up/1992) and the legendary Bobby Womack (I Wish I’d Never Met You/1991). In the midst of all these projects, Paris gave birth to her daughter, Monet, and later released and co-produced her third album, Whisper A Prayer (1993). After nominal collaborations on album tracks with the likes of US rapper Guru on his rap meets jazz concept album series, Jazzmatazz II, (Looking Through Darkness/1995), Mark Morrison (Tears For You/1996) and Maxwell (Mantra – Uncut/1996), Paris released the album Black Angel (1998/Chrysalis). It contained an unexpected and powerfully delivered cover version of U2’s One, and a duet with James Ingram, but it failed to find favour with fans. More collaborations followed with Seraphim Suite (Heart/2003), Omar (Confection/1994), percussionist and actor Max Beesley (High Vibes, Fast Response/1994), Dubversive (Police & Thieves/1998), the Mobo ‘All Stars’ compilation (1998), Mister Exe (One Million Smiles/1998), Prince (Just My Imagination/2000), Boy George (I Could Be Someone/2000) and Jools Holland and Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour (I Put A Spell On You/2001). A Best Of… collection was released in 1999 around the time that Mica became one of the first British soul singers to feature on a Walt Disney soundtrack, High Heels & Lowlifes which was later included in the Primal Screen soundtrack compilation album (2001).

In 2005, Mica Paris released the album If You Could Love Me (Wounded Bird Records), which featured backing from the Brecker Brothers on the title track. Also in 2005, Mica released an album, Soul Classics, a collection of the most celebrated and loved soul tracks chosen by listeners of her BBC Radio 2 programme 'Soul Solutions'.

Tickets are £10 available here: link={37790358-16DB-48D8-955E-341A26823896}&filler1=see&filler3=id1glasswerk

Share this!