Singer/Songwriter Andriette Redmann
Image © 2000 Drake Entertainment
click on image to visit artist's website
The debut album from Sun Palace, entitled Into Heaven (Drake Entertainment (USA) DECD0001, 2000), is comprised of ten richly produced alternative and gently rocking tracks, certain to appeal to fans of Julee Cruise, Enya and maybe even October Project. Our exclusive interview with singer songwriter Andriette Redmann, who fronts the group is integrated with our review that follows.
Sun Palace is fronted by singer songwriter Andriette Redmann pictured on the album's front cover (lead vocals, keyboards and backing vocals), the ensemble's sound is lush, orchestral and symphonic, a direct result of the songwriting, instrumental arrangements and extensive array of instruments and other musicians involved in the project. Acoustic, electric and bass guitar are balanced with keyboard, trumpet, flugelhorn and percussion including tympani. Wispy vocals are sweetly sung, soaring at times and emotionally delivered, quite evocative. The project is currently based in New York City.
We asked Andriette to tell us about about her background. She said, "My first years were spent at my family’s well-known “White Gull Inn” in Fish Creek, Wisconsin, on the picturesque Door County peninsula. Aunt Fran entertained the guests with her accordion and lively personality, often enlisting me to sing—a little scary for a toddler! Years later my eccentric artist father decided we should be cherry farmers, so we retreated to a challenging life, my brother and sister and I picking stones and brush from the orchard and selling cherries. Our nights were enlivened with dinners with my parents’ artistic friends."
She continued, "I graduated at sixteen and headed out for adventure, semesters of music study in Berklee College of Music in Boston, the University of Utah, then London, and at Hunter College in New York. I then travelled in the Southwest, Europe, the Caribbean, Fiji, and Australia. New York City became my home base."
Andriette's musical influences come from a variety of avenues. She told us, "My parents played classical, bossa nova and the Beatles; this was my foundation, followed by church music, country-rock and British new wave. During one of my band’s European trips, we were thrilled to be introduced to Peter Gabriel and his musicians. We were invited to watch Peter’s shows from every angle; the magic of his music and performances made a huge impression on me." Andriette is currently listening to a broad variety of music. She continued, "My more recent faves are The Blue Nile, Enya, Loreena McKennitt, Deep Forest, Irish and other world music."
We were interested to learn more about Andriette's musical training. She explained, "Classical voice experience was invaluable–from solos to choruses. My biggest choral performance included hundreds of singers in Mahler’s Symphony of a Thousand at the Mormon Tabernacle. I also performed pop, blues and country music, finding different techniques for each style." She added, "I won a singer’s competition during a Miss Utah pageant." Andriette also told us, "Hearing world music opened up a myriad of new singing possibilities for me," adding later, "I also studied Bulgarian and other Balkan singing styles, which was fun and challenging and still influences the way I sing today." Her first recordings were done in New York. She said, "My band made “playful and dreamy” electro EP’s that were “special picks” in Billboard magazine and grabbed the attention of an Italian producer. We recorded on CBS Italia and did national Italian TV appearances."
Into Heaven. While the music rocks, exotic and worldly themes swirl in and out of focus as the instrumentals balance the vocal textures. All songs are written by Andriette with the exception of "Skating Away On The Thin Ice Of A New Day" which is a tremendous cover of the Jethro Tull tune written by Ian Anderson. Layers of vocals add the thickness required to adequately generate enough sound to support the energy required to delivery it in style.
Sun Palace's Julee Cruise allusion is most evident in the ballad-like tracks "Your Hands Lie Open" and "Flying" where layers of sustained vocals propel the listener through the songs' themes. The slide guitars within the tracks actually provide a country edge. The album's songs deal with "death, life and the reflection of beauty that can come from both."
We especially enjoyed the track "In Somebody's Eyes" which we're certain will appeal to a broad audience even including progressive music enthusiasts. Sun Palace's tracks cleverly mix ethereal vocal textures with melodies, harmonies and alternative rock rhythms to great effect. Andriette's vocals are sensitively sung, evocative and layered just enough to add a lush texture to the symphonic instrumental sounds.
Andriette told us about her song writing. "I often start with a drum machine rhythm or keyboard string chords. When I hit on something that sparks my interest, the words and melody quickly bubble up. I take the song to John Rokosny and he plays guitar parts and then we call in our other musicians to add their artistic input." She continued, "While mixing, John and Mark Mandelbaum and I sift through the parts and design the final sound."
Outside of the music world, Andriette is involved in healing work, such as Shiatsu bodywork, Reiki and Karuna Ki energy work, and Hypnotherapy. She told us, "I love helping people feel better and learn about their deeper, spiritual selves." She also told us,"Another activity I enjoy is dancing the Hula, the ancient, sacred, story-telling dance from Hawaii. My Hula troupe has danced for various audiences, including seniors and AIDS patients. Occasionally I do modelling work."
When asked about her live performances, Andriette told us, "Sun Palace performs in New York City occasionally. It’s fun to interact with an audience and it’s a challenge to perform the music in a live band format. I’d like to tour with Sun Palace at some point."
Sun Palace currently has a modest internet presence, but the artists clearly understand the potential of the web. Andriette remarked, "[the internet is] a blessing for musicians and music lovers!" She continued, "I’m happy to be a part of it. As we know, radio hasn't’t had enough freedom to play individualized artists, so the internet is a great alternative. I welcome the development and refinement of internet music systems so music enthusiasts can easily find what they’re looking for. And I’m looking forward to them finding Sun Palace there, too!"
Sun Palace's debut album is a marvellous collection of lushly arranged symphonic alternative rock tunes. Well-written and equally well-played, production quality and vocal contributions are also tops. Currently available (exclusively) from the label's website via mail order, with a little more promotion, this album and group will do very well. Recommended to our readers, this album is worth a journey and with repeated listenings will become amust listen!
Return to website contents