“MISS VELVET is a sylphlike figure with a long cascade of lustrous blonde hair that she wields onstage like an appendage to her vocal chords,” wrote The Examiner after seeing a recent live performance by the NYC-based chanteuse. When she starts to sing, the tone is a perfect blend of Janis Joplin, Nina Simone and Lucinda Williams with a little Etta James thrown in.” While the comparisons may be lofty and somewhat staggering, that description is surprisingly rather apt and appropriate. Classically-trained yet organically rootsy, her powerful vocals command attention from anyone within audible distance whether she’s filling the room with a powerful classic rock yowl or crooning a delicate ballad. Miss Velvet’s debut album Dreams Are Not For Us will be released later this Spring, but in anticipation, she has already been invited for a two-month residency beginning next week at NYC’s prestigious The Gramercy Park Hotel, which has hosted very select artists such as Liza Minelli, Rufus Wainwright, The Head and the Heart and even the infamous Guns N’ Roses sessions.
Miss Velvet and her live band The Blue Wolf will perform at Rose Bar at Gramercy Park Hotel (2 Lexington Avenue, NYC, FREE) beginning Wednesday, January 13th at 7:45pm EST and continuing every other Wednesday till February 24th. In addition, she will be performing at Highline Ballroom (431 West 16th Street, NYC) on Friday, January 15th with Ozomatli and Lucky Chops.
With early origins in a musical partnership with producer and artist Nick Littlemore of Pnau and Empire of the Sun, the persona of Miss Velvet grew into an organic and constantly evolving project. “Nick encouraged me to confront uncomfortable topics in the lyrics, and not to be afraid of writing about things that are painful. He said that if I confronted those things, they’re gonna trigger the most real and raw and powerful parts of me when I get on stage. When I got back to New York, I felt so much stronger, knowing that I could push it this far.”
Dreams Are Not For Us marks the work of a seasoned performer, though it’s only her debut album. From the howling rhythmic slink of opening track “He Drives Me Wild”, to the propulsive epicness of “If I Were Your Woman”, to the lilting soar of “I Will Stand By”, Dreams Are Not For Us captures your attention without begging for it. Her sultry R&B-tinged retelling of The Clash‘s “Train In Vain” turns it into a soulful call and response that would give Little Richard a run for his money. The infectious and sophisticated flair coupled with the samba horns of “Cincinnati Street” adds a worldly kick to the album, combining Miss Velvet’s powerful vocals with her band’s adept and seasoned musicality. Accompanied by contributions from Peter Mayes (Pnau), Henry Hey (George Michael, Rod Stewart), and veteran studio legend Eddie Kramer (Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin), the album was engineered by is the Grammy-winning engineer Robert Smith and produced by internationally-acclaimed vocalist Constance Hauman, who also serves as Miss Velvet’s musical director.
“To me, it’s really about the whole body of work, and the idea of an album as a complete listening experience that tells a story,” Miss Velvet concludes. “Creating this character, Miss Velvet, has allowed me to rediscover parts of myself that I had forgotten about or shut away. She keeps evolving and keeps getting deeper as the layers keep getting peeled back, and I’m looking forward to seeing how she evolves and where she takes me.”
Dreams Are Not For Us was produced by Constance Hauman and engineered by Robert Smith. It will be released in May 2016.