Collette - Juneteenth Revolution

Collette
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Since present-day performers are usually pre-packaged and pre-shaped to a ludicrous extent before we even catch a sampling of their work, encountering someone who’s as bright and bubbly as her music is an anomaly…until you encounter Collette. She may have started tapping into her potential in clichéd fashion (church), but the Columbia, SC native singer, songwriter and self-confessed ‘band geek’ completely hit her stride after discovering the tenor sax (an instrument that her late grandmother had also mastered)and playing it in both middle school and college.  Veering off the beaten path as an independent artist is how Collette manages the messages in her music, and on her second full-length release, Juneteenth Revolution, the exuberance heard underscores both her birthday and the belated ground swelling of independence that can apply to any aspect of modern life.

Since present-day performers are usually pre-packaged and pre-shaped to a ludicrous extent before we even catch a sampling of their work, encountering someone who’s as bright and bubbly as her music is an anomaly…until you encounter Collette. She may have started tapping into her potential in clichéd fashion (church), but the Columbia, SC native singer, songwriter and self-confessed ‘band geek’ completely hit her stride after discovering the tenor sax (an instrument that her late grandmother had also mastered)and playing it in both middle school and college.  Veering off the beaten path as an independent artist is how Collette manages the messages in her music, and on her second full-length release, Juneteenth Revolution, the exuberance heard underscores both her birthday and the belated ground swelling of independence that can apply to any aspect of modern life.

Living long enough can help one to realize that there’s more than physical slavery, and the lessons that Collette elaborates on within this remarkable set could be seen as commonplace, yet they’re delivered soulfully with extra dashes of sparkle, vitality and verve. Brassy band edges and elements of hip-hop abound in “Be Careful,” an up-tempo cautionary tale about the futility of expecting people to change: “You can’t make them leave, and you can’t make them stay/ so be careful, of who you let in…first they want your time, then they want your mind and then they want you behind.” Both “Material Star” and “Dead Wrong” expose the follies of falling for the bling and putting recklessness over responsibility, and the airy, melodic ballad, “Sparks,” finds that Collette is heady about a new love but still needs a mutual exchange of emotion as much as she craves the sweet words and sultry nights: “I want to know you’re obsessed with me, not just my body/ the best of me is what I have inside to give, but my love needs passion to live.”

However, just as important as freedom from outer tyranny is finally being liberated from inner demons, and the sass and sweetness that fuel Collette’s vocal range make a strong case to secure trust from a doubtful lover in the fidelity pledge “Can’t You See.” They also personify a shy sweetness in “Never Told 2,” a coquettish confession to deeper feelings that were pushed aside for far too long and are now ready to be acted upon if the moment isn’t too late to savor.

In her quest to stay true to her art and individuality, Collette won’t allow her gifts to fit a hyper-sexualized and over-produced musical mold, making this band geek’s self-assurance and bold approach remarkably like the historic event that she named Revolution for: worthy of celebration and honor. If independence from the ordinary is what you’re looking for, Collette’s Juneteenth is a vehicle with enough fire to get you well down the road. Highly Recommended. 

By Melody Charles

 

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