Future soul diva Erica Dee performs remixes and traditional 

Get ready for raw hip hop, R&B and Motown vibes from her first solo album New Skies at Tommy Africa's

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - Open Skies Erica Dee returns to Whistler to perform at Tommy Africa's.
  • PHOTO submitted
  • Open Skies Erica Dee returns to Whistler to perform at Tommy Africa's.

Whistler is familiar to Erica Dee, who used to play at the GLC many moons ago.

"It was with a different project I had called Luscious Beat. That was my first project that I brought to Whistler and it was myself and another performer who plays percussion," Dee recalls.

The Vancouver-based Shambhala resident DJ has long been solo now, working on different projects and promoting her genre future soul.

There are so many genres and subgenres, I tell her. Where does Future Soul fit in?

"That's a great question. I have soul music in my blood and my spirit. I naturally sing with the influx of jazz, Motown and R&B in my voice. But I have been performing and attending music festivals with DJs who play electronic dance music since I was a preteen. I started singing over anything and everything," Dee says.

Dee also has a deep love and history with the EDM scene, thanks to growing up in Nelson (in B.C.'s Interior).

"I call my music future soul because it incorporates everything from hip hop, to reggae, to Motown. It's future because it encompasses all the things that I move my body to and love," she says.

"Things like Brazilian rhythms and percussion instruments, with an electronic, classic (Roland TR) 808 sound. There is the influence of house music and the golden era. It's taking everything until now and mixing it all together as one big fun salsa dance party."

Dee is performing at Tommy Africa's as part of Funked Up on Wednesday, July 5 at 9:30 p.m.

She released her debut solo album New Skies in May 2016.

"That album is a more broken down, traditional and raw version of me and my song writing. It doesn't have dance music; it's more of a R&B-soul record," Dee says.

"I've had a bunch of producers make remixes of the tracks off the album. With this album I was specifically going for a more vulnerable album where you could hear my voice and the stories."

For an artist to make a deliberate choice to create the basic tracks and hand them to the embellishers is an interesting flip on producers and DJs using an already polished song and working on it.

"I've been a high-energy MC and singer for my whole career, but I do these more traditional gigs sometimes that are just me and a jazz trio, and I can break down my songs and have them be more slow and intimate," Dee says.

"Love having that as a part of me, but I love to make people dance, too. This way I get the best of both worlds.

"For my gig at Tommy's, there will be a DJ set where I showcase some of the remixes from New Skies, and one or two of the actual straight-up songs — I have one with a hip hop beat that DJ Numark from Jurassic Five produced.

"When I DJ and sing, I have the freedom to do what I want and be more upbeat and funky and then play with it and tone it down."

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