Located in the affluent area of Stockholm is the Story Hotel. Its raw cement walls mixed with cosy sofas and dimmed lights make it a very attractive venue to visit, and it’s this location that Swedish soul singer Tanya has chosen as the setting for her new single release ‘Superpowers’.
I last saw Tanya at the Scandinavian Soul Award night earlier in 2014 where she was nominated for best newcomer. Her style has changed somewhat since then, as she now stands next to me in a very short tight leather skirt, and her dark red hair has been recut so it now hangs stylishly over her face.
Her new track Superpowers was written with her team at Soul Leaf Music together with George Cole.
“We wrote ‘Superpowers’ last September/November… just a few weeks after our track ‘Soul Leaf’ was written”, she tells me. “You can also expect several live performances this coming year and of course a debut album (no date set yet)”, she continued.
Established in 2013, Soul Leaf Music is a record label consisting of Tanya, Chuck Anthony, and Peter Bruhn.
“All this, our collaboration, has been a year of work. We’ve created a great balance while working together as a team”, says Tanya.
Chuck has been playing with ‘Blacknuss’ for about five years and their drummer Martin Jonsson joins him tonight on drums. They are also accompanied by Jimmy Kävvqvist (Bass), as well as Joel Lyssarides (Piano).
All songs performed tonight are brand new. Some, like ‘Superpowers’, have never been performed live before.
Tanya comes up on stage, and without much of a presentation, begins with a track titled ‘All I can do’, singing into a beautiful 50’s style microphone.
This is shortly followed by the catchy Mr. Love where she is joined on stage by Swedish rapper Hoosam.
Hoosam has already worked with top Swedish Hip Hop artists like Ison & Fille. The idea of remaking her song, which I have only seen in a singer/songwriter format up to now, fits the concept of her release and generally anonymous presentation. The crowd seemed to like this remixed Hip Hop version of ‘Mr. Love’ too.
The third song, ‘Soul Leaf’, was created to celebrate their record label.
The evenings final song is ‘Superpowers’ – the events release track.
Undoubtedly, Tanya has got a strong voice and with the wonderful band backing her up, she created a great atmosphere. However, I don’t think she’ll be joining The Avengers just yet. During the first minute you get blown away by her voice, but then the song does start to feel repetitive. Sadly the lyrics felt like the same words were going on and on – that is also why Mr. Love stood out with its rap.
I’m sure we’ll get to see more of Tanya, and she’s also planning some future performances together with DJ’s, however, it’s her combination with Chuck Anthony that really makes the songs believable, especially up on stage.
Just before I left I chatted with Chuck. His mere presence raised the event to another level.
Some weeks earlier, I had seen him performing at Stampen, a Blues & Jazz Bar over in Gamla Stan, Stockholm and asked him about it.
“The record label is my base, that’s what I’m concentrating most on. But I have these other gigs, like the ones at ‘Stampen’ to keep my chops up to date. You know my soul, my feeling with the guitar… that’s what blues does to me”.
Photos: Justina Rosengren Photography