With "Dedication", Beady Belle has drawn together all the threads of inspiration at the core of who she is and has woven a brand new tapestry that is vibrant, organic, energetic, cool, emotional, intimate, and unequivocally funky. Soul and R&B have always been close to Beady Belle's heart, and with "Dedication", she is fully immersed in these twin worlds. "I associate this music with the 70's," she says. "It's recorded live with old, original instruments. Raw and unpolished. With the groove as an unstoppable engine. It's a tribute to my great heroes - Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway and Aretha Franklin, while there are whispers of younger Soul artists like Alicia Keys, Raphael Saadiq, Lauryn Hill and Frank Ocean."
The title, "Dedication", refers to the most important thing in life - at any given time - as you go through hell and high water to achieve it. It is the battle that requires full dedication to win. But winning is never guaranteed ... The prize can be a breath of happiness, a sigh of relief, a roaring victory or a restful calm. The road ahead often seems darker than it really is as the goal ahead shines so brightly. But if an honest path is found, and one is true to oneself, that shining objective may not be so far away after all. The roads to Rome are many ...
"Dedication" is in many ways a continuation of the previous album, "On my own" (2016). The organic live feeling there has been developed further here, but now with a clear step closer to Soul and with the driving rhythm and groove solidly placed centre-stage. Beady Belle writes - and has always written - pop music. She conjures catchy and intuitive melodies, while at the same time adds deliberate - and sometimes intricate – themes and musical depth. But the dress of her music has varied and developed in accordance with the fluctuations that have affected her life along the way.
The lyrical themes are also carried forward from the previous release, where all the songs were about "otherness," about being different, standing on the outside and not knowing how to get in. About not fitting in where you are supposed to feel at home.
Beady Belle also began a process of introspection and self-examination after a close family member's health drastically changed. Discovering new challenges in the fresh perspective on life this brought, it became therapeutic to convey her experiences and thoughts in her lyrics and music, and in turn, the songs could perhaps give others courage and comfort.
Beady Belle's music has moved from a rather clubby Neo soul to Electronics Inspiration, through Nashville-inspired Country and Jazz. But her love for Soul and R & B has coloured all the songs. "Honesty is the key in all the words and music I've written. On all my records, I'm searching for a core that is close to my heart, but this changes as life goes and I change. What was me before may not be me anymore. Therefore, my music has always changed character from release to release - but always with a clear signature from my heart. There is always something open, revealing in it."
Beady Belle often writes songs with surprising juxtapositions of lyric and melody: the lyrics and melody often seems to be from opposite moods. Jamie Cullum once said, "Your song is a real mindfuck". It occurs when, for example, you are drawn to your feet to dance and sing along to a joyful tune that lyrically is about something downbeat and serious. Should you cry or laugh? Beady Belle finds great inspiration and power in this dichotomy. "Contrasts and duality are the stuff of life," she says, "I rarely feel that something is purely either joyous or sad. And smiling through tears is an expression of the strongest emotions. I want to write music and words that convey this."
* * *
Music, lyrics, production, lead vocals: Beady Belle
Prophet 5, Minimoog, Juno 60, Arp, Fender Rhodes, Clavinet, Hammond organ, grand piano, electric guitar, auto harp and glockenspiel: David Wallumrød
Drums, shaker and tambourine: Bjørn Sæther
Electric bass: Marius Reksjø
Backing vocals: LaDonna Harley-Peters Sharlene Hector and Vula Malinga - LaSharVu
Percussion: Martin Windstad
Electric sitar: Bjørn Charles Dreyer