Well what can I say other than the week ending 30th September, had been hectic and if I must admit, a little challenging, however, it ended very well, indeed.
Afternoon Tea with The Three Degrees on 27th September and what fun that was, then off to see them perform at Boisdale on 29th and then a wonderful finale of having Afternoon tea with another wonderful legend , Deniece Williams. I had the privilege of seeing her perform at The Giants of Soul at Hammersmith Apollo on 20th September. The show was great from the outset with legends such Alexander O’Neal, Tunde Baiyewu (Lighthouse Family), Deniece Williams, Gwen Dickey (Rose Royce), Jaki Graham, Janet Kay, and Candace Woodson performing.
The Giants of Soul was a trip down memory lane. I was taken down the path of nostalgia's rainbow as I nodded my head, tapped my feet and on occasion I unapologetically was prone to leaping out of my chair, to do my two step or side shuffle, whilst waving my arms fanatically in the air. Music has a way of weaving itself into ones soul, and touching those places that other things can't, and old skool music does that for me. The evening was a cacophony of musical delight from the, ambience, the mood of the audience, the backing singers, the musicians and then BAM, the artists who performed. Track after track, memory after memory, the evening took me back to a place, a memory, an experience, a time in my lifespan that I was able to relate to, and instantly there was that connection between myself, the audience and the artist.
So when Deniece sauntered on stage, singing hits 'Let's hear it for the Boy', 'Too Much, Too Little, Too Late' her duet with Johnny Mathis, 'FREE' and 'Its Gonna take a Miracle' - it was all over for me. It wasn't just the words to those songs that were touching, it was HER voice, Deniece's unique voice. It was like listening to nature in its purest form and Deniece sounds just as fresh and vibrant as she did way back then, hitting those high notes and holding them, weaving her magical chords and notes around the auditorium.. Deniece has the type of voice that captivates and subtly seduces, bringing about a feeling of being a butterfly in Springtime, opening its wings and reaching for the sky as it flies into a rainbow of musical notes and colour.
Advice Given from Stevie Wonder and Chaka Khan to Deniece
Therefore, it was a real honour to take Deniece and Craig Brown, Management, to Afternoon tea in Mayfair at the Athenaeum Hotel. We had a lovely time. We were greeted at the Door by a friendly doorman, who instantly ushered me in, took my case and showed me where to go. They say first impressions last and it certaibly did. We were served by two lovely ladies one whose name was Rosie, who was incredibly attentive, guiding us to make the best choices from the Tes menu and generally being incredibly helpful, as well as having a lovely demeanor. From beginning to end, we were served well and tended to well.
As with any of the events I host, there was always lots of laughter, lots of funny anecdotes shared by Deniece and Craig whilst dipping into a various array of sandwiches, delicious scones with their clotted cream and jam and various cakes. There was also a wide range of teas to choose from. I was trying not to think about my waistline. The greed in me wanted to eat it all, but my stomach was saying otherwise and I pondered whether it would look too 'tacky' if I asked for a doggy bag or should I quietly slip the remaining cakes and scones into my backpack. The food was good and I really didn't want to leave anything back. I might just get a tad peckish later in the evening and those scones sitting there would go down rather well with a cuppa. But my Ego told me to be quiet and still and to behave myself without looking like a guttersnipe, so I reluctantly obeyed and left everything where it was at.
Deniece's Advice about the Importance of Knowing the Business about Music Once again, I felt as if I was sitting at the table with my ancestors. Listening to stories and anecdotes from someone I have looked up to and listened to for years. Someone who was part of my life, part of those emotional moments that defined my journey and myself as a person, and whose music reached into those different emotional places when necessary and now here she was, in-front of me, conversing and enjoying afternoon tea, like old friends.
It was nice too, seeing Craig in another capacity, nicely suited and booted, and not behind the lens of a camera. His eyes would light up as he recounted and shared his take on Deniece, with a pride that was reminiscent of respecting and honouring people who were more than just artists, but legends and pioneers of their craft. He shared about conversations they'd had on the tour bus along-with the other artists, and how Deniece had the wonderful capacity to hold everyone captive with her stories and her wisdom. It was evident that this woman, this vocal masterpiece, had made a huge impact on Craig, as she did on the world when she sang, but also for her maintaining who she was, even in an industry that can be very soul-destroying, Deniece Williams knew who she was, she understood the Business of Music, meaning that she was no-body's fool. I too found myself leaning forwards eagerly, when she spoke. Story telling is a rich part of our history, both personally and culturally.
With stomachs full, over great conversation and lots of laughter, we ended by taking cosy pictures and once again, I felt privileged to have spent time with and captured some incredible moments, with people I enjoyed spending time with as well as learning so much from the wisdom keepers in the industry.
Thank you to Craig Brown Thank you Deniece for taking the time out
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