Interview: Kele Le Roc, MC Neat & Leanne Brow...

Interview: Kele Le Roc, MC Neat & Leanne Brown (Sweet Female Attitude)

With the orchestral phenomenon sweeping the UK and bringing sold-out arenas for collaborations with the Hacienda, Lush, Miss Moneypenny’s, Colours and Pete Tong, next up for the classical treatment – and long overdue – is the house and garage scene.

The eight-date tour will see the special House and Garage Orchestra perform with a string of guest vocalists including artists behind the songs featured, such as MC Neat, Kele Le Roc, Shola Ama and Leanne Brown of Sweet Female Attitude. This is coming to Concorde 2 in Brighton on the 21st November.

Leanne is thrilled to be part of the tour and to see the music she loves reaching a new audience. She said: “I am so privileged to be alive and still active in the music scene for the arrival of the House and Garage crossover to orchestral, from being electronic based.

“This new phenomenon will keep the scene alive for people who still love those tunes from back in the day. It’s amazing how many people are so excited about it. It has also brought back a strong community of ravers and artists to enjoy the scene again. This time however, we are joined by a team of superb musicians. I’m looking forward to making new memories.

“I love underground music, my personal preference for tunes when I’m listening in the club or in the car is underground and raw, however my musical career began with me playing classical music as part of a Steel Orchestra for years, so merging the two together in order to create something credible is like a dream come true for me.

“I feel so utterly excited about performing backed by the orchestra – as my mind is always whirring with song arrangements so it will itch a big scratch for me. I hope that the House and Garage Orchestra goes stratospheric. Shy Cookie and Ish have worked insanely hard to get this thing on the road, that level of graft has to pay off.

“This is a great concept with and great team. I think that the guys here have helped to set in motion a new and exciting era of live club music.”

MC Neat is also confident the Orchestra will be a huge success so was happy to take time out from writing, recording and performing in his own right to be part of it. “I’m very glad to see the arrival into house and garage, they sound made for each other. The clash between the styles is exactly what music is about, experimenting, it was simply a matter of time.

“I’m still writing, recording n performing and am currently working on a solo album. We were a part of a scene that went huge, at the time you kinda don’t even notice, it’s when you look back years later you realise. It’s an honour performing ‘Little Bit Of Luck’ with the orchestra, the audience is always up for a good old sing along.

“I hope The House and Garage orchestra gets to fulfil their growing potential and get the sound out to the masses, it’s a lot of very talented people who take pride in being a part of a live musical experience that the audience can relate to as well as vibe with.”

Kele Le Roc is sure to go down a storm at the shows with that powerhouse voice, and she like MC Neat feels the garage and orchestral crossover was always going to happen because there’s a hidden affinity. She said: “To be honest it was only a matter of time as a lot of garage does lend itself musically to classical riffs. Not to mention it’s taking it back to the old school.  Before we had technology we played music live and organically. I wouldn’t say it’s a clash as it works quite well and seamlessly. However if you’re someone who listens to classical music and you’re not a fan of dance music then this isn’t for you. But if you do it just works really well I think. not to mention my track Things We Do has classical riffs in it called triplets, you don’t get more authentic than that.

“I see this as an opportunity to create a new surge of interest in the genre and the scene. It’s quite a small one and we all basically know each other. Yet we still are all working and keeping it moving. That’s testimony to how great the genre is. It’s such feel good music and vibes. Something like this can only lift up the scene further and ensure that those of us in it carry on paying those bills.”

Kele started out as a teenager and is still performing, writing and so much more.  She said: “I think when you are so focused on what you want to achieve and I knew from a young age that I wanted to sing and perform. “I just had tunnel vision. As my success grew, for me it was all destiny. Like ‘yes this is how my life is meant to be, this is what I envisaged’. So I really just took it all in my stride.

“I’m working most weekends sometimes 3/4 gigs a weekend. With any scene that comes to the forefront, it resides back to the underground but we’re still all here bubbling. I’m just wrapping up a new album, so that’s been time consuming, it’s a full live album ironically but more soul. I just love to sing, I’m not limited by genres I run on vibes and good energy.”

One of the biggest moments of the show comes when Leanne blows the roof off with her band’s megahit ‘Flowers’. While many artists come to resent their biggest hits, Leanne will forever be thankful for what the song did for her – but she does admit she wishes people would be more open to her new songs too. She said: “I will forever have a huge amount of love for the song ‘Flowers’ and everyone involved in making it – it has brought about opportunities that would not have occurred otherwise. I do however feel slight frustration as I have loads of other material that has legs however but Flowers seems to be very dominant still whenever I pitch new material.

“People don’t really know that we spent 4 or 5 years back in the day trying to push Flowers before anyone would listen – I feel that same level of frustration again now sometimes with my newer material, when I know a track is strong and a potential hit, yet only Flowers seems to be of interest still – as it reminds people of that wicked holiday they had in Napa or Ibiza. That said, I feel nothing but gratitude for the track and everyone who made it. It feels like family. I’ve heard it A LOT though lol.”

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