Friday 9 June 2023

'Feel Good' by Women of Soul

'Feel Good' marks the new album release from the all-star cast comprising Australia's Women of Soul collective.

Australia has never been short of musical talent within the realms of soul, funk and jazz.  From revered names like Kerrie Biddell and RenĂ©e Geyer to a multitude of artists today that release world-class music running the gamut from blistering funk to sweet soul, all the way to left-of-centre jazz, Australia continues to cement themselves as a leading and essential voice amongst a thriving musical scene.

Since 2011, the Women of Soul brand has continued with this commitment to bringing new eyes and opportunities to Australian female talent.  A project helmed by the multi-talented Chelsea Wilson, Women of Soul has long waved the flag for innovative and inspired perspectives through a lengthy lineage of live performances, workshops, collaborations and music releases, as first unveiled through their self-titled album as far back as 2015.

Serving as an excellent release, the debut Women of Soul album featured fantastic vocal contributions from artists including Kylie Auldist, Candice Monique and Stella Angelico and while that album benefited from an all-star cast of writers, producers and musicians - including Jake Mason (Cookin on 3 Burners), Rory McDougall (The Putbacks) and Phil Binotto (Menagerie) - 'Feel Good' stays true to the brand's concept in inspired and boundlessly creative ways.

Initially plagued with delays from the 2020/2021 quarantine period of social distancing, face masks and excessive amounts of hand sanitizer, 'Feel Good' is a project that comprises more than 35 female creatives - filling every music-making role from vocalists, songwriters, producers, engineers and musicians across the whole album.  Executive produced by Chelsea Wilson, with production, engineering and mixing duties attributed to Anna Laverty, the album presents a dream line-up of musical talent that is no less a triumph in every facet from its concept alone delivering as a statement of intent, to the incredible results heard when you press play.

A number of returning artists from the first album are present for this second go-round including Auldist, Monique, Rita Satch and of course Wilson but we also have new voices added to the line-up that make for brilliant inclusions as listeners are treated to contemporary interpretations of soul music that range from uptempo disco numbers to sublime R&B and blissfully sweet soul music.  

Candice Monique delivers an early gem with the sincere and self-appreciating 'I Am Enough', swiftly followed by the Chelsea Wilson contribution 'Lover Don't Lock Me Down' which - despite perhaps offering a sly nod to the global circumstances surrounding the project at the time - delivers as a joyful and infectious disco-meets-funk floor-filler.  The neo-soul groove of 'I'm On It' (featuring Carla Troiano) is another excellent number as is the brilliantly produced 'I See It/I Believe It' (featuring Rita Satch, Miss Emilia, Alzzy and Raleigh Williams). 

And a final nod for the project goes towards the excellent musicians and their performances throughout the album that paint such diverse and assured, soul-drenched backdrops for these incredible vocalists to soar over.

We described the album earlier as a triumph and a project that must come with such pride for the card-carrying Women of Soul collaborators.  With its ambitious and calculated scope, 'Feel Good' is very much a heralded milestone within the rich twelve year legacy for the Women in Soul brand - it is the vision realized.

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