Grey Area, the eagerly anticipated new EP by artist, Roxanne Tataei was showcased with a live performance and video screening on Thursday 3rd December 2015, in a private launch for family, friends, press & project contributors.
Taking place in a quirky studio on Denmark Street in London’s West End; there is a distinct buzz in the air as we approach the door, more than the expected sound of a DJ’s warm up set and the clinking of glasses – it’s the buzz of anticipation of Roxanne’s 100 nearest and dearest which hits you like super heated air as you enter the studio.
Awash with red & blue lighting, mismatched furnishings and projections depicting the intense glare of Roxanne’s eyes, the space feels very private, almost secretive even; just like Ms’ Tataei herself, who is not giving away any hint as of what the evening has in store except for the clear excitement in the room.
As we grab a drink from the bar and mingle among the familiar faces we realise that the last time a gathering like this took place, it was 5 years earlier for Roxanne’s debut album, Memoirs, released in June 2010 by Rough Trade. Partially recorded in New Jersey in April 2009 with “Commissioner” Gordon Williams (of Lauryn Hill fame) but mainly in London with Jay-Z and Lupe Fiasco producer Al Shux; such collaborations helped gain widespread support in the British Press, with NME calling Memoirs “Back to Black, this time with feeling” and Music Week citing her as “one of 2010’s most exciting new prospects”.
Like myself, Roxanne hails from South London and I can proudly announce that she is independently self-releasing Grey Area EP with no label, no management and no rigid team. It’s a statement that is completely, essentially and inherently Roxanne. Telling me a bit more about the EP she says:
“I created the EP in the purest of forms with a group of artists that respected my creative process, because it echoed something in them. To begin with there was no formula; it was just about creating art that felt good. No expectations and no set goals, just endless vision. And as I felt the transformational shift of evolving into a woman, the music followed. Suddenly I was making sexy, grown up music.”
Hypnotic Swirling Instrumentals
As Roxanne begins to perform, I soon start to feel the difference between Memoirs and Grey Area EP. The release combines Roxanne’s vocal, which segues seamlessly between silky, sensual tones and seductive, raspy whispers, and hypnotic and swirling instrumentals giving this EP a decadent and trippy vibe. Added to the melting pot is the exhilarating emotional frankness contained in the lyrics and dramatic primal tribal beats; you have a sound that is simultaneously pacifying and electrifying – a recipe that will go straight to your head and have you hooked.
Working closely with Cologne based producer Patrice (CeeLo Green, Cody ChesnuTT), together the pair set about an intimate, DIY approach to recording, with locations spanning from Roxanne’s living room all the way to Jamaica, Paris and Cologne. Having travelled extensively and with a year spent in Berlin, it was London however that called her back. The Grey Area EP is a sound that could only come out of London’s creativity and Roxanne knew that this is the final piece that would perfectly complete the Grey puzzle and I whole heartily agree!
What Does The Future Hold
It was an incredible evening, made even more incredible by my dear friend Roxanne bearing her soul to us with her unique and creative talent, giving us an EP that I will certainly be listening to on repeat for a long time.
When I asked what’s in store next, her response was refreshing as ever,
“My next moves include completing an album and touring, amongst other creative ventures. But i’d be foolish to give you any unrealistic dates or deadlines. I’m notoriously late, in everything – so all i’ll say for now is, soon come.”
Grey Area EP is out now and available on iTunes