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Vanessa Collier

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“There’s a young lady [Vanessa Collier] came onstage with me, I forget where I was, but she’s playing an alto saxophone, and man, she was amazing.” – Buddy Guy

If you haven’t been fortunate enough to meet Vanessa Collier and witness one of her head-turning, fiery, and passionate performances, you should definitely make sure you do. As a master musician and multi-instrumentalist, Vanessa weaves funk, soul, rock, and blues into every powerful performance and she is downright impressive. With soulful vocals, searing saxophone, and witty songwriting, Vanessa is blazing a trail, racking up an arsenal of honours, and has already singled herself out as an artist of distinction and one we would all do well to watch.

It’s not simply the accolades she has accumulated so far, although they’ve been many -- three Blues Music Award Nominations (BMAs) for Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year (2018) and Horn Player of the Year (2018 and 2017), a Blues Blast Award nomination, the Jammingest Pro Award bestowed by the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, First Place for lyrics in the International Songwriting Competition, Best of 2014 Blues Breaker on Dan Aykroyd’s BluesMobile -- it’s the fact that she has accumulated all these honours even while her career is still in its infancy. A 2013 graduate of the prestigious Berklee College of Music, she’s toured nationally and internationally, released two critically acclaimed albums (2014’s Heart, Soul & Saxophone and 2017’s Meeting My Shadow), and will release her highly anticipated self-produced third album, Honey Up, in July 2018.

These days, Collier spends much of her time on the road, performing at some of the most prestigious music festivals in the world. Her talents have taken her to the Blues Music Awards Show where, in the words of the Blues Foundation, Vanessa “blew the doors off the Blues Music Awards!”; Ottawa Blues Festival, where she earned two front page newspaper photos and rave reviews after her foot stomping debut there; twice on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise, where she earned the Jammingest Pro Award and was a featured artist with Tommy Castro’s Blues Review; Briggs Farm Festival, where she was the “most popular Briggs Farm act in 2017” (Elmore Magazine), and the list continues. In 2017, Vanessa was also a featured artist in three major tours across Europe as part of Ruf’s 2017 Blues Caravan.

As for Collier, she says she’s happy performing on stages across the world, hoping that she can make a difference with fans and followers along the way. “I am driven to do this because I find it a total form of expression and connection,” she explains. “I love connecting with an audience and feeling their energy and I hope to inspire people to follow their dreams and passions, to find what brings them joy, and then to pursue it doggedly.”

Album Notes

Honey Up
Release Date: July 6, 2018
Produced By: Vanessa Collier

This album is a snapshot in time of what I enjoy writing/playing/singing and brings together my diverse inspirations and ideas and, on this album especially, more of my personality. Of course, there’s always a purpose to some of my songs as they are based on things I struggle with, like why we can’t listen and respect each other, why we can’t work to find common ground, and why we can’t find our way out of the small boxes we place (or accept) in our lives, but even those songs drive us forward and the music is upbeat and funky.

Similar to my previous records (which I also produced), the songs on Honey Up pay respect to the traditions and roots of blues music, but branch out with my own blend of rock, funk, gospel, NOLA, and soul grooves and, of course, my love of the saxophone. Each song is different and I hope you find a favorite (or two or three…)!! Thank you for listening!

1. Sweatin’ Like a Pig, Singin’ Like An Angel, is a fun New Orleans tune. The idea for this song has been with me since I played one of my first festivals in Greenwood, South Carolina in a sweltering July heat wave. I hope you have as much fun listening as I did writing this song…all the way to Chattanooga!

2. Don’t Nobody Got Time To Waste, takes us to Church with a gospel influenced tune. The chorus to this song was inspired by my middle school band director, who inspired the chorus, “If you’re early, you’re on time; if you’re on time, then you’re late; if you’re late, then you’re fired!”

3. Honey Up is a James Brown funky blues inspired by the narrow thinking “inside the box”, spiced up with funk and horns and kisses!

4. Percolatin’ is a funky tribute to the saxophone. Following on Keep It Saxy from my first album, I wrote Percolatin’ for this album, a funky, grooving tune with my saxophones!

5. Icarus. It’s a story song with a fun groove and lyrics about reaching for your dreams! Oh, and I’m playing acoustic guitar on this one and, of course, saxophone too!

6. The Fault Line brings the dirt/grit back with an in-­‐your-­‐face blues rocker. The song is a commentary on the times and society’s inability to compromise and consider the world through someone else’s perspective. It reminds us all to listen and try to really hear what others have to say. We don’t have to agree, but we can find a way to respect each other and find common ground.

7. Bless Your Heart. I was born in Texas and my parents, sisters, and I love to spend vacations in the mountains of Tennessee. I so appreciate the kindness of people in the south, but don’t cross them or you may hear a well placed “Bless Your Heart” as a polite way of telling you off! It’s a phrase I love to hear in that familiar southern drawl and I wanted to write a song about it.

8. You’re a Pill is a throw back to old school. I love Keb’ Mo’s music and this is something that I wrote in that relaxed and grooving style, with the addition of big band horns.

9. You Get What You Get is a common saying in my family with three younger sisters. It’s also about picking your battles and figuring out that balance of when to accept and appreciate what you have and when to work for something more.

10. Rounding out the record is a Chris Smithers’ song, Love Me Like A Man, made famous by Bonnie Raitt. This song has been a fan favorite at my live performances at festivals and venues around the world and I promised it would make my next record!

Phenix Fire Records/Vanessa Collier