Stephanie McKay’s US Debut THIS IS LIFE Due Out This Spring

Stephanie McKay’s second solo album, entitled Tell It Like It Is, is her US debut, following on from the success of her self titled Astralwerk’s EP release in 2006. Tell It Like It Is has been a few years in the making, but is, if anything, much stronger than her debut. Infused with a block party vibe and informed with Stephanie’s charismatically conscious lyrics.

Native New Yorker ,Stephanie McKay, is famed for her work with Brooklyn Funk Essentials, Kelis, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Roy Hargrove’s Grammy-nominated RH Factor (which assembled a who’s who of hip hop and soul, including D’Angelo, Anthony Hamilton, Erykah Badu, Karl Denson, Pino Palladino, and Common), Amp Fiddler and, of course, McKay, her debut solo album produced by Portishead’s Geoff Barrow.
The title track sets the mood with its lightly menacing rhythm perfectly matching the intensity of the lyric. “Money” continues the topical theme allowing first single “Jackson Avenue” to lighten the mood, with Stephanie reminiscing about the street where she grew up in the Bronx (and not to be confused with the more famous Jackson Avenue in Queens). “This Letter” is stunning new tune, studying of the implications of forced separation, specifically around the current Iraq war, an ode maybe in the age of e mail to the fading art of letter writing (and receiving). The hip hop influenced “Oh Yeah” is a wind-in-the hair celebration with a cool groove and is already receiving strong club play. “Sure Feels Good”, “Say What You Feel” and “Kinky” are further evidence of the breadth of Stephanie’s vision and the album’s producers, Robert “Chicken” Burke and Demien Desandie, sense of melody and rhythm. Guest vocals from Anthony Hamilton on the smooth but perfectly pitched duet “Where Did Our Love Go?” takes the album to its deepest moment and together they produce a gem of a ballad. The album finishes with a stunningly original take on Willy Mason’s genuine anthem for 21st century youth, “Oxygen”.

At a time romantic and at others acutely topical, Tell It Like It Is is an album full of strong performances and great song-writing. Accompanied with photography from Marc Baptiste for the album art and Shan Nicholson (Downtown Calling) directing the video for “Jackson Avenue”, Stephanie will wow you with sight and sound.

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