"The Lover That You Are" by Ste Essence featuring Rheo


"The Lover That You Are" by Ste Essence featuring Rheo

Review

If you look at the "front page" of the magazine, you may have noticed that the most recent article always comes under the banner of "Fresh & Funky". Well today's review certainly lives up to that.

I hope you read my preview of Rheo's ‘Down For You' EP back in January?

In that I was full of praise for her performing & writing skills, offering a very dance orientated yet often bluesy take on music to our local scene (and in her case the international scene).

Now Rheo has turned her talents temporarily away from her own material & towards an interpretation of a hitherto uncovered track, 1995's "The Lover That You Are" (originally by Pulse featuring Antoinette Roberson on vocals): a song in fact written &  released before she was even born.

In this, she is working with Birmingham's Ste Essence, a legend in the house scene & obviously it's yet another feather in her cap that she is working with someone of this calibre.

And the great news too is that they are making it available as a free download as a response to the current situation. You can get your copy here: https://soundcloud.com/donnie-anonymous-brasco/ste-essence-ft-rheo-the-lover-that-you-are-club-mix

It is naturally a challenge to take on a track which is well known & which presumably no one has dared take on before: too faithful a rendition & you risk being labelled timid & your own musicianship simply doesn't get a look in: too radical & you'll get howls of protest from lovers of the song. Ste's understanding & deep experience are obviously crucial in deciding "how far do we go?" and providing the balance between respect for the original performance & proving the resilience of the track by showing it can be made fresh (and funky) for 2020. With this foundation, Rheo is liberated to let fly her considerable vocal skills on this surprisingly (to me) brisk tempo remake: though naturally the degree of voice processing is high given the nature of the song. The sounds are crisp yet quite dry & although much of the sound is very contemporary, the odd retro synth sound provides both a nod back to the original & an effective sonic counterpoint to the modern sounds. And both sound like they are enjoying themselves which is good to hear.

During the lockdown, Rheo is taking the opportunity to write a lot of new original material, much in collaboration with musicians and producers not only across the range of genres that she embraces, but again of considerable renown in their fields. The names had better stay confidential for now but I'm delighted that Rheo has offered to share the new material with "Hot Music Live" as soon as she can.

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