Saturday, April 16, 2011

I'm So Infatuated With This Vintage Love

♪ It's far beyond me; it's high above.
I am so infatuated with this vintage love.
And if she said, "Run away with me."
For sure I'll say, "Let's go.
Throw your bag in the back,
Get your shit packed.
Let's hit the road."

Warren Dean Flandez is a local R&B and soul artist who is about to really make his mark in the music industry.  Born in Yellowknife and eventually settling with his family in Vancouver, Warren got his exposure to R&B, hip hop, and old school soul while visiting family in Virginia Beach.  After moving to Vancouver, Warren took up piano lessons and began singing.   As a teenager, Warren sang in a gospel choir led by Checo Tohomaso.  Checo, a former back up singer and keyboardist to the great Marvin Gaye.  Warren fine tuned his incredible musical talent while in choir, while networking with local producers and artists to work on solo materials and produce demos and perform around the city.
Teaming up with Mike Southworth a few years ago, they quickly developed two albums worth of material with a demo finding it's way onto Mitchell Davis' (son of music industry giant, Clive Davis) desk.  Under Davis' management, Warren was given the opportunity to open for the king of soul himself, the late James Brown while on his last tour before passing away.  Warren also supported Joss Stone on her only Canadian date of her "Introducing Joss Stone" tour.  Since then, he had showcase appearances at NXNE and JunoFest which has gotten the attention of audiences both locally and internationally.

Releasing on May 17, 2011, Warren's debut studio album will feature 13 songs, most of which were co-written and co-produced by Warren.  The album features Southworth and key song writing collaborations with Andrea Martin (Toni Braxton, Leona Lewis and En Vogue), and Printz Board (Black Eyed Peas, Fergie, Cassie Davis).  Divine Brown appears in the album in the duet "Ungrateful" (I hope to see more collaborations between those two) and songwriting legend, Diane Warren,  wrote "Superhuman", a ballad so indescribably powerful, it brings tears to my eyes whenever I listen to it.  What woman wouldn't want their love interest serenading them with that track?

Warren doesn't sing soul, he is soul.  He is active in a number of charities ranging from the Canadian Students for Darfur to Canadian Red Cross, to War Child Canada.  Warren is a featured artist for this organization - one that helps children affected by war.

Alright, so that's the bio for Warren.  It can be found, pretty much word for word on his website.  I'm not going to lie, I didn't spend a whole lot of time writing the preamble.  What I really wanted to get into was the music.  Warren has an incredibly unique ability to combine urban music in such a way that it can reach all audiences.  Young people like listening to his fresh beats, 20somethings and 30somethings like the similarities to artists like Boyz II Men, Chico de Barge and Brian McKnight and the old timers like the homages to Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Ella Fitzgerald and The Temptations.  

Warren borrows from so many genres, that you sometimes don't know if you're listening to gospel, R&B, old school soul or hip hop.  Instead of being unfocused, and frenetic, his music is smooth and seamless.  Warren's creamy falsetto and vocal range can take you back to playful memories of your childhood or to intimate moments with your partner. His voice can heal old wounds, or it can help you grieve.  I had the privilege of seeing him perform at the Kay Meek theatre a couple of years ago.  At one point, he sang an unplugged solo while playing the piano.   Prior to singing the song, he had talked about how he had recently lost his grandmother to breast cancer and that this song was for her ("You Were My Life"  You can hear it on his website).  The way he sang that song struck such a powerful chord with everyone there, there wasn't a dry eye in the house.  Even thinking back on it now, I am fighting back tears as it resonated so deeply in us all.  He sings with such emotion, and such passion, that what he is feeling when he's in the moment, is what everyone in the audience was feeling.  When he mourns, we mourn.  When he falls in love, we fall in love.  When his heart is broken, so is ours.  When he is filled with joy, the audience is on their feet celebrating that joy with him.  

May 17th is when his album comes out at HMV.  May 17th is when you should make your way down to the store and buy it.  Yeah, I know.  Who goes to a store to buy albums these days?  There are few artists who are worth actually making that effort, and I promise you, Warren is one of those select few.  

Check out his teaser video for the title track, Vintage Love.


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