Camille I Sing Stevie : The Stevie Wonder Songbook
Featuring: Will Lee, Mitchel Forman, Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, Bobby Franceschini, Marc Quiñones and others
I Sing Stevie: The Stevie Wonder Songbook is the new album by vocalist and studio veteran Camille, a recording that dedicates and celebrates her love and gratitude for a man who is one of the greatest artists of his generation. Backed by a stellar lineup of musicians, Camille dives deep into Stevie's catalog and delivers inspired vocal performances over dramatic musical arrangements that will surprise listeners.
"To me, Stevie represents what music is, what honesty is," says Camille. "Recording this album was beyond gratifying." In her personal liner notes for the CD, she writes to Stevie: "Stevland Morris!! Beautiful, blessed, gift sent from God above."
Musically, the album crosses multiple musical genres, from Latin Jazz to R&B ballads to flamenco-flavored grooves and more. The early reviews have been exceptional; drummer Peter Erskine (Weather Report, Steely Dan) remarked "Bravo! Love the version of 'As'... wonderful!". Renowned keyboardist Mitch Forman, who played on half of I Sing Stevie, commented on the album "I'm really impressed. Camille sounds great, a fantastic job."
Crossing genres is nothing new for Camille; her early work as featured vocalist for Grammy-winning Brazilian producer Deodato landed her on the Billboard charts twice. She followed that success with extensive dance club appearances and a long list of sessions for numerous recording artists. Her innovative jazz scat on K7's hip-hop tune "Come Baby Come" helped to land it in Billboard’s Top 20, and the song went on to be re-released on more than 30 compilation albums, earning Camille several gold records in the process.
"Camille’s a rare commodity in that her live performances are even more impressive than her respected recordings are," wrote Dance Music Authority Magazine. "Distinctively perfect pipes."
Legendary sax great Michael Brecker called Camille "a wonderful singer with her own sound" after hearing her solo album of jazz standards entitled Camille Filfiley.
With I Sing Stevie, Camille takes that sound to the songs of Stevie Wonder, where she opts to record some of his lesser known gems rather than the more obvious hits. Her supporting band members on the album have lent their talents to some of the most iconic artists of the music world, including Bruce Springsteen, Marc Anthony, Wayne Shorter, Allman Brothers, Santana, Paul McCartney, Dizzy Gillespie, James Taylor, Paul Simon, and countless more.
Bassist Will Lee (from The Late Show with David Letterman) not only contributes his bass playing to I Sing Stevie but also sings a duet with Camille on "The Secret Life Of Plants", from the Stevie album of the same name (and the one that is most dear to Camille’s heart). "When I heard that "Secret Life" was one of Will’s favorites too, I knew I wanted him to be a part of this album," Camille explains. "I love our voices together."
I Sing Stevie: The Stevie Wonder Songbook is set for release October 7, 2014 on Camille‘s newly launched label Camilleon Records.
Press kit photo by Sandrine Lee
Print ad Winter 2015: Photo by Sandrine Lee
CAMILLE'S INTERVIEW with SMOOTH JAZZ GLOBAL RADIO
How did the overall concept for "I Sing Stevie: The Stevie Wonder Songbook" come about? What are your ultimate goals with it?
I wanted to honor my idol! This came from my lifelong love of Stevland, his brilliance, his sense of humor and the things he stands for. It just made sense to do this album. I was dying to sing his songs! I changed up the arrangements a bit.
My ultimate goal is to be able to meet Stevie and sing with him! Give this to him to say thank you, with a huge hug filled with joy and laughter. My other goal is to put together a kick-ass band and perform the album live.
What did you find to be the most challenging aspect of recording this new album?
I wrote one original song on the album-- one that I'd kept locked up inside me since I wrote it years ago. To record it was painful but relieving at the same time. The song is "Can You See Her", which I used like a verse to "Never Dreamed You'd Leave In Summer."
I flew out to LA to do the arrangement with Mitch Forman, who's an astounding pianist/musician. That song needed to come out of me. The most challenging part was convincing my co-producers that this song actually belonged on the album, as Stevie did not write it.
What in your life, outside your music, drives you in a creative sense?
The sounds of the ships' horns off of my balcony remind me of Dexter Gordon and old classic movies. I've got the acting bug.
Food... I am great in the kitchen and love the art of dining, oh yeah!
Dance, dance, I dance. I dance hard!
Decorating... taking a blank space and turning it into a sexy, fabulous place.
Photography... I love to capture the tiniest of moments and then gaze at them.
I love to design and draw clothing. I would love to make a simple, but to die for, ten piece collection.
Curiosity... I once walked from my apartment to the corner store and back blindfolded so I could feel what it felt like in Stevie's world. I was seventeen and smoked a joint first. My doorman thought I was nuts. I couldn't see so I don't know what the reaction on the street was, hahaha.
How would you finish this sentence? "I don't like to go a day without_____"?
Saying thank you to God!
If you were to choose to learn a new instrument, what would it be?
Drums. I had a couple of conga lessons with Joe "Papo" Daddiego (JOPA percussion), and I used to go to drum clinics. My father played timbales. I play conga, I love percussion. It's in my blood.
At what point in your life did you make the decision to become a professional musician and actually record your own albums?
When I was a little girl I used to record myself singing with Oscar Peterson records, pretending he was backing me up. I think that's how I learned to play with melodies so well because he was playing in the original keys. I always knew I was going to be a vocalist, a professional musician, there was no other thought process. I love the law and wanted to study it, but you just have to do what you are born to do.