In addition to showcasing a love for 1960s and 1970s soul, Shawn Lee also steers his latest musical mystery tour into psychedelic and cinematic territory over the course of 12 brand new cuts. Sing a Song is a summertime listen, packed with catchy motor city licks and space age songs. Featuring vocalists from as far afield as Kansas City, Los Angeles, London, Detroit and New York, Sing a Song includes collaborations with Princess Superstar, artist Paul Fryer, and blind street performer Robert Bradley.
Lee kicks the album off with a duet featuring Orgone chanteuse Fanny Franklin, and their vocals lace an epic string-laden instrumental with a cautionary tale for fakers and flakes. Surprised to learn that Marcus Malone was a mature guy with a young voice (and not vice versa) Lee was inspired to write a bouncy Motown-fueled jam for the Detroit native. Making a brief appearance on “Who Are You,” Bing Ji Ling is originally from San Francisco but now resides in Brooklyn, NY recording as a solo artist and member of The Phenomenal Handclap Band. Despite having just been discharged from hospital (for an emergency appendix operation) and having a baby daughter born less than three weeks prior Lee managed to record Jeremiah while he was on a quick trip through London. Lord Large is Andrew J Jones and Stephen Large, “a man who plays keyboards like a frickin’ wizard!” says Lee. “Fading Light” features Robert Bradley on lead vocals. A blind street performer and songwriter from Detroit, Bradley sang and appeared in the movie Lackawanna Blues and the music documentary “Playing for Change”.
Lee appears solo on “I’ll Just Wait a While” which starts out as a bluesy stripped-down song before morphing into space-age pop. It complements the tracks featuring The Superimposers, a two man London group comprised of Dan Warden and Miles Copeland. Lee recently produced their new album and pretty much joined the band, “We go together like peanut butter & jelly and pimps and fur coats.” “Fade Up” is an amazing rolling funky folk track for hazy summer days while “Don’t Let That Feeling” is quirky tripped out soul. Lee also produced tracks for Princess Superstar, the native New Yorker who has worked with Cool Keith and Grandmaster Flash. Together the Mensa-member soulstress and relentless producer turn in slightly tongue in cheek soul jam. Born and raised in Wichita, Kansas, Lee had to make the Kansas City connection with rapper/singer/producer/trumpeter and MPM recording artist Miles Bonny. Midwest represent!
Lee describes Paul Fryer as “total and utter creative genius.” The DJ, club promoter, singer and successful artist was musical director for fashion house Fendi for 5 years and released a book of his poetry with illustrations by fellow artist and friend Damian Hirst. Their beautiful and cinematic track rounds out the album.
Lee’s last three albums were also collaborations. In addition to ghuzheng player Bei Bei, he has recently worked with Clutchy, and with Money Mark and Tommy Guerrero under the name Lord Newborn & The Magic Skulls. He has plans to do some major interpretations of famous classical pieces later in the year, and has a “World Of Funk” album in the pipeline.