What they say…
The “Golden Girl of Funk”, this is the title multi-talented songstress Gizelle Smith quickly earned after she stormed from obscurity onto the funk scene in 2008, as the front woman of Hamburg-based funk band, The Mighty Mocambos.
Born and raised in Manchester, the love child of an Afro-American father and Seychellois mother, Gizelle Smith moved to London to work on music as a composer and singing tutor for an independent theatre company, after completing an MA in film composition and singing and playing trumpet in several big bands. Her first single “Working Woman” became an overnight smash and a prime-time club favorite of funk & soul DJs worldwide. Initially released on the Finnish private press label Old Capital, producer legend and Grammy nominee Kenny Dope (Masters at Work, Bucketheads) picked up and remixed the song for his own label Kay Dee Records.
Her album ‘This is Gizelle Smith and the Mighty Mocambos” on Mocambo, Légère and Soulbeats, was released late in 2009 and was a great success in the funk and soul circles all over the globe, and whilst the depression of the music industry peaked, nearly 10,000 copies of what has been referred to as a jewel in the modern music landscape have been sold with only the help of a couple of small, independent labels and her growing, underground reputation.
In the wake of this breakthrough release, there are few cities in Europe that have not seen Gizelle Smith perform one of her memorable live shows, for which she is notorious for being highly energetic, dynamic and incredibly charming. From London to Manchester, Paris to Marseille, Milan to Berlin, all the way up to Oslo, 2010 saw her play numerous club shows, a whole summer of festivals and perform her songs live on air on multiple national radio stations. All whilst holding down a full time job. “I’m a Working Woman, it keeps me out of trouble” she says with a twinkle in her eye.
Gizelle has recently taken a short break from gigging to work on her now hotly-anticipated debut solo album. Being the daughter of a Motown musician, soul will always run in her veins, but her musical influences are vast and in a genre often littered with overused clichés of the past, there is something very unique and exciting about her style. Her composing and trumpet-playing background sees her able to arrange and orchestrate her own music and her funk and jazz singing has cultivated a powerful yet exquisitely controlled voice. Get yourself ready for a juxtaposition of dramatic brass themes, softened and seduced by gospel and blues-tinged vocals, held together and propelled by an ever-present funk groove.