News/Reviews

Seattle Artist Has “Speechless in Singapore”

After stirring up global radio airwaves, Barbie Anaka kicks off an autumn tour in Portland – with a new publishing deal and music licensing agreement in hand.

“Speechless displays a certain ‘come hither’ charm that only one with the gift of great vocal chops can deliver.” – Ronald Jackson | THESMOOTHJAZZRIDE.COM

(SEATTLE, WASHINGTON) September 1st, 2014 – Music critics were anything but “Speechless” in 2013 when Barbie Anaka released her album of the same name. The title track climbed the charts on two continents as she stirred up radio airwaves across the globe.

Speechless is available at all major digital retail outlets, including iTunes.

Now, the Seattle native has “Speechless” in Singapore, with a new music licensing agreement covering Southeast Asia. In addition, Anaka’s inked a noteworthy publishing deal and returns to the stage with performance dates slated for fall.

An accomplished songwriter, pianist and producer, Anaka’s first big break came at the age of nineteen when her jazz demo aired on Seattle’s KPLU-FM. It earned the respect of industry veterans such as John Clayton. (The Clayton Brothers, Natalie Cole.) Over the years, Barbie’s graced the stage with members of Club Nouveau, The Motels, and opened for Big Brother and The Holding Company.

In early 2013, the title track, “Speechless” debuted at #35 on the USA Today Airplay Charts. The song peaked at #15 on the UK Top 30 Soul Chart, where it remained for two months. The album’s passionate, yet potent potpourri of groove-oriented jazz, pop, and r&b featured seven originals and three cover songs, including Sade’s “Sweetest Taboo.” In 2014, Speechless continues spawning opportunities for Anaka.

Barbie has recently signed a music publishing agreement with the prestigious Carlin Music, a well-respected firm that’s published some of the world’s most well-known songs. She’s also finalized a licensing deal with EQ Music Pte Ltd., a physical and digital content distributor that represents major labels across Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia. Anaka has announced a two- night engagement at The Heathman Hotel in Portland, Oregon, on November 21st and 22nd, 2014, kicking off her West Coast tour. Here’s your chance to catch the gifted Seattle artist who’s made her new fans “Speechless in Singapore.”

page1image22080

CONTACT:
Greg Allen Artists
(303) 532.1280 (tel)
(303) 532.1281 (fax) info@gregallenartists.com

page1image23504

 

###

 

 

href="http://www.westseattleherald.com/sites/robinsonpapers.com/files/imagecache/popup_image/images/wwwwestseattleheraldcom/2013/11/screen-shot-2013-11-08-100122-am.png" rel="lightbox[images]">

West Seattle jazz vocalist Barbie Anaka has released a new recording that is doing well on both local and national charts. She appears regularly at Salty's at Alki and Redondo and will perform at 13 Coins Nov. 15.

West Seattle's Barbie Anaka has released a new recording; She performs often at Salty's at Alki

 

West Seattle’s Barbie Anaka has released a new recording entitled “Speechless”. The album offers ten tracks with seven songs penned by the artist, and three songs by others, including a version of Sade’s “The Sweetest Taboo”.

Anaka recently performed to a packed house in celebration of the disc’s release at The Triple Door in Seattle. Anaka is a contemporary jazz/pop singer, songwriter and producer with her own record label.

Barbie’s music charted at #1 on the reverbnation.com jazz charts for Seattle, a site driven by social media in early November, 2013. This comes on the heels of a successful radio campaign, where the title track, “Speechless”, attained #35 on the USA Today/Mediabase Smooth Jazz Chart nationwide. The album also registered in Europe at #15 on the UK Soul Chart Top 30 for over two months.

Guest musicians include John Raymond (guitarist with Kenny G) and multi-instrumentalist Donyea Goodman (cousin of soul balladeer Al Green). Carol Handley, program director for smoothinseattle.com (formerly with KWJZ-FM, “Smooth Jazz”) said, “The long awaited new Barbie Anaka project sounds fantastic. The title track, Speechless, is a favorite on Smooth in Seattle. Great production values and fits right into the Smooth Jazz vibe. Nice to have a new vocalist to share with the format.”

Barbie Anaka performs regularly at Salty's at Alki and Redondo and throughout the northwest with her band. Her next performance is Friday, November 15th at 13 Coins Seattle. For more information about the artist, visit www.barbieanaka.com.

Tech & Music In Concert

 

It’s a Friday night and Portland gospel/folk/punk band Modern Kin is tearing it up in Barboza, a basement club in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Off to the side, an audio engineer hunches over an iPad and laptop, recording the show and mixing the levels.

 

Within a few minutes of the band leaving the stage, fans in the audience and those who couldn’t make the show download the audio through a new app called Lively. Lively is the creation of Dean Graziano, a serial entrepreneur and music lover who got tired of wishing he could relive concerts and decided to do something about it.

 

With the permission of the artist and venue, Lively makes audio, and occasionally video recordings, then sells them as downloads right after the show. It’s an idea that makes almost everyone who hears about it smack themselves in the forehead for not thinking of it first.

 

“It’s one of the first companies that I’ve ever started where it takes ten seconds to explain the concept and people get it right away. That doesn’t generally happen,” Graziano said.

 

It’s been more than 10 years since Napster and iTunes blew up the music industry, a decade in which it was predicted (once again) that technology would kill music. That prediction hasn’t come true in Seattle, a city full of music-loving techies where entrepreneurs are building new companies in which music and technology don’t compete, but complement each other.

 

“I’ve had several conversations with music industry folks who’ve said we’re done whining and it’s time to get on the train and technology is here. Let’s grasp it and leverage it and go,” said Graziano.

 

Startups in tune

 

Tech and music might have clashed at the corporate level, but anyone who has ever worked at a startup knows the natural affinity between creative types and music. So it’s not surprising that Seattle, full of musicians and geeks, is fertile ground for new music companies. 

 

“The (entrepreneurs) that I know are music fans. It’s kind of rare to find someone who doesn’t like music around here,” said Rachel Sawyer of the city’s Office of Film + Music.

 

Entrepreneur Omri Mor thought it should be easier for musicians to pursue their avocation full time. His startup, Ziibra, uses technology to connect artists and fans in a model that reaches all the way back to the Roman Republic when wealthy patrons financially supported artists. Similarly, Ziibra allows fans to “subscribe” to musicians they like (the service is being expanded to include painters, photographers and others as well) in exchange for greater access to the band as well as premium content.

 

Subscription revenue will make it easier for bands to record, tour and pursue music full time while also letting artists identify and interact with their most zealous fans, said Mor: “That’s what we’re about, to get that person-to-person connection, that extra bit they’re not getting now.”

 

At 12 years old, Rhapsody, the Seattle-based music streaming service, might no longer be considered a startup, but it’s still scrambling to secure its footing in a marketplace full of competitors, in an industry still being roiled by new technology.

 

“You can’t have a successful music company now without an engineering department,” said VP for Business Development Brian McGarvey, a former Microsoft employee.

 

The future is on-demand music and subscription services, but the key to keeping customers is curation, said McGarvey, who added that Rhapsody has added more social media services and other features to its offerings to help listeners discover new music.

 

Even KEXP, Seattle’s revered alternative and indie rock station, is emphasizing digital. It’s the job of Scott Bell, new general manager of online services, to shift the station’s resources away from the FM broadcast and toward its digital offerings, including live and archival streaming, apps and podcasts. In-dash wi-fi will be standard on cars soon, he said, and listening to the radio will become even less popular.   

 

Bell describes KEXP’s demographic as “music discoverers.” While radio used to be how people heard new music, there are other ways to do that now, from social media to Bandcamp to streaming services like Rhapsody. The edge KEXP has, according to Bell, is in curating the offerings and playing the role of the cool friend who always knows the best new music.

 

“That human element is critical,” he said.

 

Macklemore shows the way

 

It is impossible to talk to anyone in the Seattle music industry without them bringing up Macklemore.

 

The Seattle rapper is the hottest act in the country, if not the world. He and bandmate Ryan Lewis became the first indie artists to reach No. 1 on the Billboard charts, without a major label, just catchy hooks and great videos and a canny use of social media.

 

But the worshipful talk in Seattle is more than pride in a native son (who went to the same public high school as Jimi Hendrix and Quincy Jones) or relief that the city has reasserted its musical relevancy. People in the industry view his success as proof that the scary new business model in which artists sink or swim on their own is going to work. In other words, that everything’s going to be OK.

 

The days when musicians could depend on a major label to discover them, distribute their music and manage their careers are long gone. While it’s never been easier to record and distribute music, it’s harder than ever to break out from the pack of aspiring stars. To succeed today, artists need to harness technology, particularly social media, to be heard by and connect with fans.

 

Most young artists understand this, said Shannon Roach, executive director of the Pacific Northwest Chapter of The Recording Academy, but “there definitely is a tension between the creative side of things and the business side of things for musicians. If they’re really truly seeking success in the industry and they’re seeking that as their living, the musician needs to understand how to be a business person.”  

 

Barbie Anaka’s smooth jazz could not be more different than Macklemore’s hip hop, but she has embraced the same model.

 

The former Nordstrom clerk and model decided 12 years ago to become a fulltime musician. To make it work, she not only performs live, she produces other artists, gives music lessons and directs a choir. She just released her third CD, which she funded through Kickstarter.

 

“I love the idea that when I wake up in the morning I get to create my own opportunities and it’s whatever I can dream up,” she said. “You don’t really have that in any other business where the world is just kind of open to you and how creative you can be to get to your goal. There are some tedious aspects of the business that you just kind of go, ‘Aaaagh, I hate this part’, but it’s a necessary evil.”

 

Seattle might never return to its grunge glory days, but the city’s tech and music industries are likely to keep playing together.

 

Perhaps the controversy that courts the use of vocals in contemporary jazz is just one of the reasons why great vocal tracks remain something of a collector’s item.  Walking a fine line between smooth jazz and what might be best described as smooth soul; such songs are normally characterized by an edgy urban groove or the classically soulful tones of artists such as Anita Baker and Pattie Austin.  Of course one exception is Pete Belasco and another is white vocalist Barbie Anaka.  From the Pacific Northwest, and adept as a songwriter, pianist, producer, and music educator, Barbie has just released the CD ‘Speechless’ from which the title cut is proving to be something of a radio revelation.  A stupendous groove coupled with some stellar backing marks out this seductive song as the biggest surprise of the musical year so far. 

Check back here soon for a complete review of the album ‘Speechless’.

BARBIE ANAKA - SPEECHLESS


As refreshing as a night breeze in summer, vocalist Barbie Anaka delivers on a project packed with passion, seduction, and loveliness. The album, Speechless, displays a certain “come hither” charm that only one with the gift of great vocal chops can deliver. The magnetism of the melodic tunes certainly facilitate that delivery.

Barbie Anaka

The soft glow one can feel from these songs only lends testimony to an artist who knows how to turn, shape, and massage a tune. Listening to the lead track “Did You Love” with its Brazilian feel, the attractive “Like the Fourth of July,” the very smooth title track, the oh-so-sexy and beautiful “Star,” a notably decent interpretation of Sade’s “Sweetest Taboo,” and a snappy “Broken,” the nicely rhythmic “The Lesson,” and the bouncy closer, “Second Skin” reveals volumes about how deeply the lovely and talented vocalist felt each and every note and how much she wants to convey that depth to listeners.

As a writer, the sexy Anaka shows that she has a firm grasp on what constitutes a complete story, a true ballad, in this or any genre.

The album was co-produced by Donyea Goodman, a cousin of crooner/soul balladeer Al Green and certainly bears the markings of one who knows soul and pop.

This is a feel-good, feel-sexy CD with a lot of artistic appeal. Anaka, along with a charming voice, has surrounded herself with all of the ingredients needed for good music. Two thumbs up for a great effort. – Ronald Jackson 

Anaka Debuts Album at Triple Door

Seattle jazz songstress Barbie Anaka [MU ’92] debuts new album Speechless with Triple Door performance and release party January 6.

PICTURED: Album cover art for Speechless; photo by Cheryl Jones.

Seattle’s own Barbie Anaka performs at The Triple Door on Sunday, January 6, 2013 at 7:30pm in celebration of the release of her third album, entitled Speechless. Anaka, who graduated in music from Cornish, is a triple threat as a contemporary jazz singer, songwriter and producer. The CD release performance at the Triple Door will feature a 10-piece band with, notably, percussionist Tony Gable, who has played with Kenny G and 206.

Anaka enjoyed success with her first two recordings, In Love With a Memory and Ballads Through the Night, and things are looking good for her third album: “The radio station smoothinseattle.com has been playing the single, the title track, "Speechless", from the album,” Anaka says, “And it’s currently being played in the UK as well.”

Speechless is her third recording after taking a 10 year break to produce and work with other artists. “There are a lot of stories associated with this CD,” Barbie says. “It features the song That Night, written by acclaimed jazz bassist/composer John Clayton, whom I met at Cornish during his artist-in-residence when I was in school.”

“John became one of my most valued mentors,” Anaka continues. “I recorded his song as a means to give back just a little for what I could never repay him. He co-wrote the song with Arthur Hamilton, writer of the famous standard Cry Me a River. The song Star is a tribute to the late Carly Henley … my promising student, a 20-year old-singer/songwriter who tragically killed herself in 2010. Carly wrote the song and I recorded it for her.”

Barbie has been playing dates or producing steadily since leaving Cornish but she has new projects. “I split my time between performing, producing and teaching,” she says. “I coach aspiring singers, teach piano privately, and teach courses on the music business.”

Tickets are avaiable in advance or at the door. Fans shouldn’t put off the purchase — the show is nearly sold out. TICKET INFORMATION

This is moonlight over a quiet ocean. A romantic dinner by candlelight. Barbie Anaka is a more angelic Streisand with a sultry, resonant, rich voice that turns old-fashioned classic jazz into living magic.

There’s almost nothing else I can say about that voice – you just have to hear it. But what adds an element of quirkiness to the CD is her choice of cover songs. “Take The L,” an 80s hit from the Motels, lends itself surprisingly well to smoky jazz. The saxophone and piano set the heartbroken mood beautifully. From there, I skipped ahead to hear “On Broadway,” the track that turned out to be my favorite after I’d heard each blissful one. This version is done as a crooning, melancholy, rainy-night streetlamp ballad, and it is reason enough to buy the CD.

Old school jazz fans will swoon for this. Romantics will dream to it. As a music lover who’s a little of both, I got goosebumps.

5.0 out of 5 stars In love with this album!, November 25, 2008

 

This album has been available to listeners for 8 years, and I'm surprised to be the first one to review it on amazon!

FRESH ARTIST: A few weeks ago, I had never heard of Barbie Anaka. One evening, I was browsing through Sade reviews on amazon and a recommendation for Barbie Anaka's In Love With a Memory popped up on the screen. Intrigued by the title (and the elegant cover photo of the singer looking like she was daydreaming about a sweet remembrance of love) I listened to samples and was instantly hooked. I purchased the album and it's been enjoying a prime spot in my CD player.

GENRE: This album defies categorization. It's a very effective fusion of styles from contemporary jazz to light pop with some cool R&B undertones. Barbie's voice is silky, smoky, and sultry! A delight in each and every song on this polished, but not over-produced album.

SONGS: The album opens with a gentle, prayerful ode to the world on "Humanity." After that, the album is heavily centered on the desires and musings of an unabashedly romantic (but not naive) woman of complexity. For example, Barbie rejects broken promises in "Words" and fantasizes about being with "Someone Else," who is not self-absorbed before finding "A Way Back Home" from a painful relationship. The songs are cohesive, but still provide plenty of variety and excitement!

LYRICS/AUDIENCE: With her well-written lyrics, Barbie comes across as a mature woman with many layers. In fact, I doubt most people under the age of 25 would understand or appreciate this album. A more experienced 30 or 40 something (or someone of an even riper age!) will feel her messages resound.

Back to the SONGS! "Where Is Love" is a beautiful tune that probes our depths, asking us if we are afraid of love or will leave it once it's found. The title track, "In Love With a Memory" is a steamy groove about meeting someone once in a candlelit setting and being haunted wondering what might have been. The singer yearns for another chance and "One More Time" with a lover who is clearly no longer in season, something so many of us have experienced.

TINY GRIPE: The only song that seems out of place on this album is a duet called "Made It Through the Bad Times." While pleasant enough and definitely well-sung, it doesn't blend with the otherwise consistent theme of longing for and/or losing love. Still a 5-star album, though!

VERDICT: Barbie Anaka has a talent that has been unexplored in the mainstream music market. This CD is a gem of a find for any music lover's library. Also take a listen to her other album "Ballads Through the Night" that showcases Barbie's delicious voice on time-tested standards performed by more famous, but not more talented, crooners.