Skip to main content

Opera Meets Soul | Alicia Waller & The Excursion: Some Hidden Treasure

Alicia Waller & The Excursion: Some Hidden Treasure
Journey through the Female Soul
(Innova Recordings / Feb 14, 2020)


Buy the Digital CD
Listen on YouTube

Multi-talented Alicia Waller is a New York City based soprano and composer and songwriter, and her focus is the female voice. She's a trained opera singer who grew up listening to pop and RnB vocalists like Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway, and Anita Baker, and her work embodies all those influences


Some Hidden Treasure is her first release, including four original songs that explore various facets of American music with her operatic vocal instrument. She's worked with bassist and co-producer Marcos Varela along with the musicians that make up her band, The Excursion.

“When I went into this, I didn’t know exactly what was going to come out,” Waller states in a media release. “I just knew that I wanted it to sound ballsy and new. I wanted the voice to have a touch of classical and jazz, but the instrumentation to feel like soul music. I wanted it to sound like it came from the gut.”

The results are intriguing, a seamless fusion of all those threads into four tracks. The musicianship is superb, with her warm, rich soprano propelling the momentum. The lyrics are intriguing as well. Some Hidden Treasure is about falling in love with a friend, her big voice set against a languid groove and layers of piano and golden guitar lines.

Clouds is atmospheric and spotlights Waller's voice at its most beguiling - flexible and virtuosic, while making it all sound easy. The song adds strings and interesting percussion to the mix of instrumentation, swelling with her fluid voice.
Alicia Waller (image courtesy of the artist)
In Soul, the guitars have a dirty edge, and the drum kit is more prominent. It has more than a shade of classic Motown sound, building on a groove, but then breaking into a completely different rhythm...and then another. It mirrors the lyrics, which go through pursuing, then refusing, then getting seductive with a lover.

Just Step Back is a vocal tour de force, a slow, sexy, yet frenetic examination of how to leave a bad relationship.

The marriage of operatic vocals and American popular music genres isn't necessarily an easy mix; it requires a true understanding of both musical modes. Alicia Waller's debut release proves you really can have it all, along with a stylish and sophisticated sense of songwriting and composition that makes it memorable.

Comments

What Else Is Hot This Week?

Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company Spring 2013 Toronto Performances

From a media release:

The new season brings
Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company
to new heights and new audiences

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
April 25-28, 2013 - Annual Toronto Season - World Premiere of Portales

TORONTO : Following on the heels of Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company's (EESDC) 30th anniversary year where its production Aguas/Waters was named one of the top five dance shows of 2012 by NOW Magazine, the early months of 2013 are full of excitement and possibility for Esmeralda and the company, which brings the finest flamenco and Spanish Classical Dance to Toronto stages.

March 20-24, 2013 - A Night in Madrid
Company dancers Esmeralda Enrique and Paloma Cortés perform Spanish Classical dance with the celebrated Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra and Chamber Choir for A Night in Madrid featuring the Iberian flavoured music of composer Luigi Boccherini who made his home in Spain. His work is infused with the sounds of Spanish and gypsy folk music.

March 20-24 …

Polina Semionova to Appear as Guest Artist with American Ballet Theatre

From a media release:

POLINA SEMIONOVA TO APPEAR AS GUEST ARTIST
WITH AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE
FOR 2011 SPRING SEASON AT METROPOLITAN OPERA HOUSE

New York - Polina Semionova, a principal dancer with Berlin State Opera Ballet, will debut as a Guest Artist with American Ballet Theatre for the 2011 Metropolitan Opera House season, it was announced January 14, 2011 by Artistic Director Kevin McKenzie. With ABT, Semionova will perform Kitri in Don Quixote at the matinee on Saturday, May 21, opposite David Hallberg as Basilio, and the dual role of Odette/Odile in Swan Lake on Saturday evening, July 2, opposite Hallberg as Prince Siegfried.

Born in Moscow, Semionova studied at the Bolshoi Ballet School before joining the Berlin State Opera Ballet as the company’s youngest principal dancer. Her repertoire with Berlin State Opera Ballet includes Odette-Odile in Swan Lake, Nikiya in La Bayadère, Marie in The Nutcracker, Princess Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty, Swanilda in Coppélia, Kitri in Don Quixo…

So You Can't Go: Six Ways To Travel Virtually

So You Can't Go:
Six Ways To Travel VirtuallyTravel is limited for most of us in the world these days. For Canadians, it depends on the province you live in, but with the border to the US still closed, and other options limited at best, virtual travel from the couch can provide at least a view with a difference at a time when you may well need it most. Google Cardboard – VR On A BudgetYou don't need a lot of cash to get into travel via virtual reality. Google Cardboard is a line of VR viewers that are, well, made of cardboard, and are priced starting at $12CAD.If you check out this link, you'll find out how to download the software to your smartphone.At this link, you can get yourself an actual Google Cardboard for a hands-free VR experience. Google Cardboard apps offer a variety of ways to experience our beautiful planet, including Google Earth itself, which can take you anywhere, along with apps to view museums and cultural artifacts, and more.Ascape VRAscape has a huge l…

Harlem Stage Digital Event: A Drop Of Midnight October 13 & 15 2020

From a release:Harlem Stage Digital Event:
A Drop Of Midnight
October 13 & 15 2020A two-part conversation with Jason ‘Timbuktu’ Diakité and his creative team around the developmental process of creating his autobiographical theater project, A Drop of Midnight. In this conversation Jason will take us on his journey to becoming one of Sweden’s chart-topping hip-hop artists and a best-selling author. He’ll also share the story of how a mixtape from Brooklyn traveled across the waters to the tiny village of Lund, Sweden and altered the course of his life forever. We will examine the impact of hip hop music and culture on the globe. How has hip-hop united communities of color globally?  How do you translate a personal story into a universal truth? How do you build a creative team? How has the current climate of social justice informed your artistic practice? Jason will read excerpts from the play and share some of the music. October 13—Part IIn this conversation A Drop of Midnight author…

Blues/Rock: The Cole Patenaude Band - Are You Happy Now? (Independent / 24 July 2020)

Blues/Rock:
The Cole Patenaude Band - Are You Happy Now?
(Independent / 24 July 2020) Buy the CD Big vocals and infectious grooves make up this release from The Cole Patenaude Band. It's modern blues with a classic sensibility, anchored by solid musicianship and upbeat songwriting. 
Keyboard player Dean Thiessen and Patenaude on guitar trade off solos and melodic lines to keep it interesting through a range of bluesy style, incorporating rock and country, with a pop song sheen on songs like For the Money. Would You Be Mine is more Elvis-esque rockabilly, while How To Love is an acoustic song with folky storytelling lyrics and feel. 
Compromise is a standout track, with a snarly guitar line and a churchy organ swelling underneath a nice bluesy beat. Horns aren't credited in the notes, but I swear I heard some on this and a couple of the other tracks. 
As a husband, father, and full-time mechanic based in Langley, British Columbia, finding the time to make his music was a challenge…