Soul Singer-Songwriter Dru Chen’s Intentions

Any reason to listen to new music will always be welcome to us, and if that reason is an uplifting slice of 1970’s soul, so be it. Kicking off our Sunday morning is a Motown/Soul Train-inspired music video titled “You Bring Out The Best In Me” from Dru Chen’s debut record, Intentions.

The Melbourne based soul-star-in-waiting has been seducing local audiences when he hit our shores early February. Mid March he will be back for the Mosaic Music Festival, and more importantly, for the official launch of his EP at the Barber Shop.

(from the press release)

A blending of the traditional forefathers of soul with the new breed of digital musicians, Dru Chen attempts to fuse the old-school with the new-school. A multi-instrumentalist (guitar, piano, violin, and bass) Dru not only played most of the instruments on Intentions EP but also wrote, arranged, produced and mixed all the songs himself at his home studio in Melbourne, Australia.

“Lovelight” is a sexy ode to romance on the dance floor. Uplifting electro-pop beats are combined with soaring rock guitar solos as Dru encourages the listener to let the chips fall where they may. “The guiding light” is the embrace and energy of young love and once again Dru throws a nod to retro soul by slyly quoting Sam Cooke’s “You Send Me” in the second verse.

“Turnaround” shows Dru’s experimental hip-hop side as he deliberately plays so far behind the beat, it almost sounds off, creating a staggering “drunk on your love” hip hop groove. Beginning with a bitter break up lyric asking “Will you find peace of mind after all we’ve been through?” the dark tune makes an optimistic turn in the chorus beckoning the ex-lover to “turn around.”

“Involved” is a passionate slow burner reminiscing about an old flame. It is written entirely in past tense as the protagonist graphically recalls “when I was involved with you, I’d run my fingertips all over your body.” The song’s hauntingly stark production is based on the SoundPrism iPhone app and was inspired by the recent indie R&B of Frank Ocean and Miguel.

The closer “Trainwrecks” is one of Dru’s earliest and most honest songwriting efforts. Composed at the tender age of 15 at the wake of a teenage breakup, the sleepless protagonist finds himself fixated on the past, “reliving all the train wrecks in my mind.” Not unlike Ray Charles’ “Drown In My Own Tears,” or even Jeff Buckley’s most soul baring moments, Dru’s wash of guitars, violins and basses sweep over this grandiose ballad.

Intentions EP Tour dates:  March 14  at the Esplanade Concourse (Mosaic Music Festival), March 15 at the Esplanade Outdoor Theatre (Mosaic Music Festival) and March 16 at Barber Shop by Timbre (official EP launch).

 

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