Opera meets Dancehall meets Hip Hop with Marie Claire for Amazura “I-Octane, Jadakiss, Spragga & Friends”
New York’s biggest summer show has yet taken another turn, and added a new layer to this musical feast. “Best Of Both World/Reggae meets Hip Hop “I-Octane – JadaKiss and Friends” has added Opera to the stage with Marie Claire! When asked to describe her musical style, Marie Claire responded “It’s almost as if reggae and hip-hop had a threesome with opera.”
Marie Claire will join “I-Octane”, “Jadakiss”, “Spragga Benz” along with Konshens, Munga Honorable, Richie Loops, Bascom X, Frisco Kid, Chi Ching Ching, Kranium, Supa hype, Baby Chris, Nefatari and more.
The performances will be backed up by world renowned Ruff Kut Band, while HOT 97 DJ Envy, Bobby Konders & Jabba, DJ Pow, Kevin Crown, Dev Kutta, DJ Roy and Stretch of Road International, Banky Hype and Tek9 will keep the music going to entertain the massives.
Even before it’s completion, the Jamaica Observer described her debut album as nothing less than “groundbreaking.” The who’s-who of Reggae royalty have lent their wisdom and unquestionable talent to ensure that Marie-Claire dreamland is a first-rate production. Bob Andy (who penned one of the tracks) and Earl “Chinna” Smith has mentored her throughout the process , bassist Glen Browne is featured on the title track, Stephen Marley has given his stamp of approval to her remake of a song made famous by his legendary father. This EP promises a fresh new hybrid sound. Says Marie-Claire,“It’s almost as if reggae and hip-hop had a threesome with opera.” Listeners are in for an eargasm of eclectic sounds familiar and all the same strange and new.
The journey to this point has not been easy for the Dominican-born, Bronx-reared beauty who came as close to success with a demo deal from Epic records which fell through. They loved her, but she was ahead of her time. Her journey started with an open-mike performance at Village Vanguard, while Marie-Claire was an Archeology student at Brooklyn College. Since then Marie-Claire has gone from performing on the jazz and country western circuit; to performing with the Austin Lyric Opera Company and to studying opera with vocal teacher and mentor Maestro Guido Caputo while taking classes at Conservatory of Santa Cecelia in Rome Italy, where she lived for three years. Her return to the states took her through to Los Angeles where she continued her study with Mark Forrest, and then back to New York; where she studied with Raymond Buckingham.
Marie-Claire debuted at Carnegie Hall with the New York Grand Opera Company. She also studied with Wayne Saunders from Opera Ebony and was included in their performances in the NYC area. Since then she has performed within the NYC metro at Joe’s Pub, Lyricist Lounge-Central Park Summer Stage 2001 and Izzy Bar to name a few. She subsequently joined forces with musicians DJ Mighty Mel, Carlos Cartagena and Mahiri Buffong to form the band WATER and performed with them throughout the tri-state area. Her first performance in her native Dominica was the solo recital ’A Night at the Opera.’ She has also performed at Cable and Wireless Creole in the Park, Nature Fest, and Creole and All That Jazz. In Dominica marie-claire made her mark in television as well, by co-creating, co-producing and hosting video best-the first ever video music show in Dominica. She also had two live shows jazzlive and belemont lounge produced by her girlfullofgold productions ltd, and interviewed artists at the 12th Annual World Creole Music Festival for the Dominica Festival Commission (DFC). Speaking of TV, her music has been featured in the films Lovin Jezebel, The Roommate and marie-claire herself was part of the cast of the second season of The Chappelle Show on Comedy Central. She has been interviewed by Caribbean Billboard; featured in the New York Times, Jamaica Observer and the pages of She Caribbean, Ocean Style and Domnitjen Magazine; as well as a host of popular Caribbean entertainment sites.
Regionally, Marie-Claire has been keeping busy. She performed at St. Lucia’s Love Fest in 2006. In 2008 she performed in Jamaica at Christopher’s Jazz Café, Weekenz, and Red Bones Blues Café to rave revues. 2009 saw performances at Jamaica Jazz and Blues and Russell’s in Antigua. She kicked off 2010 with a performance in Dominica at the Year of the Child concert series- a concept she co-created and co-managed to focus her philanthropic efforts. Apart from a well-received performance at Jamaica Jazz and Blues, other major 2010 performances included Marie-Claire opening for Faith Evans at Antigua’s Love Is All We Need Concert series and for Glen Washington in Dominica. She also performed in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on invite of the Prime Minister and was a guest performer at the Bequia Mount Gay Music Fest. So far, for 2011 she has performed at several events in Jamaica including the JARIA organized Reggae Month concert series at Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, The Actor Boy Awards and Music Unites fundraiser dubbed ‘Jazz and More’.
Marie-Claire’s passion to seamlessly blend her classically trained voice with hip-hop, reggae, dancehall, jazz, rock and any other genre is a result of her love of the lands that birthed these sounds as well as the power of the genres themselves. It only takes one listen to her amazing voice on DJ Logic’s The Anomaly, or her songs “red” and “desperation” to know that power. Now this blend of Opera, Hip-Hop and Reggae has been condensed into a mature, sexy, and delightful EP- a fitting description of Marie-Claire herself. Dreamland boasts five songs each unique in their own right. “Constellation”, is a beautiful balled written by celebrated Reggae singer/songwriter Bob Andy; “charcoal”, written by marie-claire herself, has a definite rock influence and showcases her range; a remake of the El Tempo’s classic “dreamland” made famous by Bunny Wailer shines through on the album as well. “summertime” is an ode to hip-hopera and features Drezion. Her version of Bob Marley’s “rastaman chant” features an appearance by Dancehall veteran Spragga Benz. Apart from Paul Bailey’s contribution to the “dreamland” track, all tracks and vocals were recorded at Champagne International Studios by in-house producer Dre (Tenament Yard). A mix of reggae and funk with operatic influences flavored throughout, it illustrates her growth as an artist and is sure to be a staple in every music lover’s collection. This girl full of gold is a treasure you don’t want to miss!