Wed, Sep 27 • 7:00PM
The Atlanta Room
DEQN SUE / CHELSEA SHAG / IVORY WILLIAMS
$10 IN ADVANCE / $12 DAY OF
Let's start with her name: an amalgam of the character name that her father Rod Perry made famous on the hit 1970s TV series S.W.A.T. -- Sgt. David "Deacon" Kay -- and her mother's first name. Add the quirky, post-modern spelling and it's clear that DeQn Sue has no desire to be conventional or rudimentary. And the songs on her debut album Zeitgeist reflect this, while retaining an accessible sound that is expanding her fan base.
DeQn Sue describes her music as socially conscious, alternative pop. A good description, knowing that her influences are Chaka Khan, David Bowie, Queen and the avant-garde visual artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.
"I want to make music that lasts," DeQn Sue says. "Music that you will think about for years to come."
Zeitgeist puts her well on the way to meeting that goal. Created with Grammy-nominated producer Kelvin Wooten (Jill Scott, Anthony Hamilton, EWF, The Bee Gees and others), its songs brilliantly combine pop, jazz, R&B, hip-hop, rock, funk and gospel without losing its consistency or relevance.
"When you break down the music, there's definitely a lot of genre 'mixation' going on," DeQn Sue says.
One of the standout tracks is "Magenta," Zeitgeist's lead single. It simultaneously shimmers and crackles, luring the listener into its warm rhythms and witty descriptions of the complex moods and thoughts a person can have.
Though the songs on Zeitgeist are very compatible with current pop, rock, R&B, dance and hip-hop playlists, DeQn Sue says that she cultivated her vocal talents in the church. Her mother, realizing that her child loved to sing, made sure she sang during church services and would sit on the front pew, mouthing the words to her. At home, her father began to teach her the fundamentals of voice. Piano lessons soon followed, deepening her understanding of music theory.
But it was after seeing her father sing the gospel favorite "Precious Lord" while performing in a stage play about Thomas Dorsey, the song's composer, that she discovered her destiny. "I just was like, 'This is what I want to do'," DeQn Sue recalls. "I want to be a performer."
But being a performer means something different for this Los Angeles native than for some of her peers. She's not interested in singing about R-or X-rated sexcapades.
"That doesn't do anything for our culture to me," DeQn Sue explains. "It's very important to make sure that you can look back in 20 years and know that even though you're in a different place, you're still proud of what you've done in the past."
Her career has transformed this L.A. native into a part-time Southern girl, splitting her time between L.A. and Huntsville, Ala. Like many talented singers before her, DeQn Sue first went to Huntsville to attend Oakwood University. While a student, she sang with Oakwood's acclaimed choral ensemble The Aeolians, as have members of the 10-time, Grammy-winning vocal group Take 6, Grammy-winning producer Meryvn Warren, opera sensation Angela Brown and members of Committed, the vocal group that won first place on NBC's The Sing-Off, Season 2.
But what has kept DeQn Sue connected to Huntsville is not the sounds emanating from her alma mater, but the relative quiet of that small, Southern city.
"I actually love Huntsville," she says. "Not that there's anything wrong with L.A., but it does more for my spirit to create music in Huntsville. You don't hear anything at night. You look up in the sky and it's just clear. It feels very romantic and nostalgic."
As her schedule continues to fill with out-of-town performance dates and studio sessions, DeQn Sue's peaceful Huntsville nights will become fewer and farther between. But all indications are that no matter where she lays her head at night, this talented, alternative pop performer will have no trouble creating more smart, socially-conscious songs that will charm listeners across the nation and around the world.
You can’t put Chelsea Shag in a box – she’s made up her own. It’s not just pop – it’s jazz, blues, R&B, soul, funk, and hip hop all in one – it’s everything that’s gone through her. An enamoring energy both on and offstage, this twenty-three year old's music moves within you. Her words create stories and her voice and music bring life to them delivering a unique experience to each listener. An invigorating sound to your ears, Chelsea’s voice vibrates through you with the soul of James Brown, edge of Amy Winehouse, and smoothness of Erykah Badu.
From listening to her biggest influences and putting her hands on any instrument she could get ahold of, Chelsea’s been developing her sound since she started playing her electric guitar at age eleven. Moving to Atlanta in 1996 from Nova Scotia, Canada, Chelsea developed the soul of the Southeast and you can feel it when you hear her music. With so much to offer vocally, it’s refreshing to hear a strong singer-songwriter play guitar with such ease and originality. After studying jazz guitar at the Atlanta Institute of Music, Chelsea began winning hearts performing throughout Atlanta breaking the cliché that only men can rock a guitar. With her looper machine, sweet tones, beat boxing, and kick drum riding the rhythm – her live performance is not to be missed.
It is that time yet again where Chelsea evolves in front of our eyes and we are happy to announce that she is in the works of finishing her first record with a full band. This new element only magnifies her more as the artist she is so keep your eyes peeled and ears ready. Things are about to get funky!
Ivory Williams is a singer/songwriter originally from the Atlanta area. Being brought up in a musical family, she started to recognize music as her passion at a very young age. Ivory has played in a few different bands over the years but is currently doing most of her performances as a solo artist. She recently digitally released an album to Spotify and iTunes under the InCrowd record label.