Video of the Month: KEA delivers on a classic

Photo courtesy of Kea Michaels

Soul music fans were spoiled in the 1980s by an incredible generation of female song stylists such as Anita Baker, Phyllis Hyman and Patti Austin. And while it is difficult to find those kinds of high quality adult soul singers on broadcast radio today, they exist, just waiting to be found.

A few years ago, we found one of that rare breed: singer and songwriter Kea Michaels, aka KEA. With a mission to spread honesty through her music – whether her own compositions or her covers of others – she has a voice that recalls many of the all-time greats. And she delivers her music in a style that blends soul and jazz beautifully.

Soul music fans were spoiled in the 1980s by an incredible generation of female song stylists such as Anita Baker, Phyllis Hyman and Patti Austin. And while it is difficult to find those kinds of high quality adult soul singers on broadcast radio today, they exist, just waiting to be found.

A few years ago, we found one of that rare breed: singer and songwriter Kea Michaels, aka KEA. With a mission to spread honesty through her music – whether her own compositions or her covers of others – she has a voice that recalls many of the all-time greats. And she delivers her music in a style that blends soul and jazz beautifully.

Recently, KEA brought her distinctive style to an 80s classic, Smokey Robinson’s “Being With You.” KEA says it was the song’s message that attracted her, as it recalled a past relationship with an older man that she she had difficulty explaining to her family and friends. And musically, she and producer Gerald “Butter” Glanville (Lalah Hathaway, Take 6) had a clear direction: “Butter and I had been communicating about cover songs that were distinct from the originals such as what Earth, Wind & Fire did with the Beatles’ ‘Got to Get You into My Life” and D’Angelo with Smokey’s ‘Cruisin’. Wanting to make ‘Being With You’ my own, I sent Butter my draft. What he returned left me speechless…took me back to when Neo Soul was at its height. In that moment I felt such admiration for my culture. Like, ‘Now this is some Blackness right here!’”  

KEA transforms the song, slowing it down into a jazzy ballad, one that is truer to the lyrics of complicated emotions. And now she has created a classy music video to give a visual element to her great cover.

We’ve made “Being With You” our Video of the Month. Check it out below and welcome the talented KEA back to SoulTracks.

Video of the Month
KEA - "Being With You"

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