There’s neo-soul poet Jill Scott and neo-soul earth mother Erykah Badu. And then there’s Amel Larrieux. With a voice too versatile and a style too varied to be bound by a single music genre, Larrieux creates music that soothes your soul, lifts your spirits, and makes you want to be a better person.
Already a seasoned songwriter by the time she began winning over R&B/soul fans worldwide as part of the 90s duo, Groove Theory, Larrieux set out on her own in the mid-90s and released an impressive and welcome debut, “Infinite Possibilities,” in 2000. The record contained several soul gems, with lyrics as superb and sublime as the music. From the uplifting “Get Up” to the self-loving “I n I” to the deliciously dysfunctional “Sweet Misery,” Larrieux’s songs often speak to the difficulties facing African Americans, women, and children, and do so in a most eloquent and affecting way.
Although she could’ve easily ridden the neo-soul wave she helped create with the Groove Theory and Infinite Possibilities records, Larrieux opted to do a second record that was decidedly different from the first, possibly due to the freedom of releasing it independently. “Bravebird” was released in 2004 on Bliss Life Records. The record is packed with wonderful surprises musically, as Larriuex’s voice can wrap around a folk or jazz melody as beautifully as it lifts a soul groove. And then there’s the phenomenal songwriting that we’ve become accustomed to from Larrieux and her husband and primary collaborator, Laru Larrieux. The record’s title track is an awe-inspiring homage to a survivor of female circumcision told over an uptempo, techno beat. Other standouts include the sweet, intimate love song, “For Real,” and the country funk jam, “All I Got.”
Just a few minutes in Larrieux’s presence reveal a socially conscious, thinking, feeling humanitarian inside the stunning beauty we see on the CD covers. She spoke recently about her music, what inspires and drives her, and her “bliss life” with her husband and children.
For more information about Amel Larrieux, visit http://www.blisslife.com