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Shelby J first came to our attention as the powerhouse vocalist in Prince’s New Power Generation. The soul and funk queen is currently in Melbourne playing a residency at Birds Basement, where AM’s Greg Phillips got to sit down with her for a great chat. We also report on the first of her 8 shows this week and present some wonderful photography from Jason Rosewarne

Soul, funk queen and Prince protege Shelby J might be just a visitor to Melbourne but last night at the first of her 8 show residency at Birds Basement, she made it her town. Shelby J owned it and had the jazz club audience¬† literally ‘going off’. Asked to clap they thundered, asked to get on their feet, they danced like nobody was watching. With a combination of that powerful, soulful voice, an engaging stage persona and a band that radiates funk, you can’t help but be having a good time when Shelby’s in the house. Drawing mainly from her brand new debut album 10, the set list showcased the diversity of Shelby J as a performer.
Anyone who has followed Shelby J’s career will know how close she was to Prince, both as the lead vocalist in his New Power Generation band and sometime songwriting collaborator. Shelby was quite obviously channeling the late pop rock legend in the delivery of the ballads, particularly during an emotional version of the classic Someone to Watch Over Me, which she sung beautifully with simple piano backing. Local trumpet player Tom Jovanovic got a moment in the spotlight after he’d responded to a social media call out by Shelby, searching for someone to play horn on the Prince song Chelsea Rogers. Tom grasped his opportunity with gusto, playing the hell out of that tune. However it was the contagious Superpower off her new album which really lifted the roof. Melbourne audiences have 7 more opportunities to see Shelby J play at Birds Basement this week, before she returns to Australia with an even bigger band later in the year. If you like your music real, vocals powerful and soulful and have a hankering to dance, then get your sorry arse down to Birds Basement this week, cos Shelby J says so!

Shelby J Facebook

Shelby J’s album 10 is available on iTunes and CD Baby

Interview and Jason Rosewarne’s pics below.



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