The funk sizzles out of the stratosphere with Noe Carmichael, AKA Saucy Lady. Her latest LP SUPANOVA mashes funk, hip hop, nu disco and more, bending genres into high-octane dance beats while keeping a jazz backbone.
The title track “Supanova” is breathy and ethereal. You want so much to settle in. But without warning you’re taking a quick exit to a hot, full-brass sound with horns tight in unison and an unshakeable hook. Add the organ’s jumpy syncopation and flecks of sax and you have a spacey mélange. “Rocket Science” has fat and wide bass groove where Saucy Lady’s vocals lay on top with bullseye-perfection: light, sweet and melodic. “Calling Jupiter” proves she can scat like a pro. A soaring flute and wailing electric guitar add even more textural interest. Slightly askew yet friendly and accessible, this album is fun and daring.
How did you find your musical sass?
Through allowing music to take me on an emotional journey and letting it flow through my body. Since childhood this is how I experienced music.
What was your first public performance like?
First performance was when I was 5 at my piano recital. I don’t remember it but from what I heard from my family I had played confidently.
So from disco to funk/jazz. What has that journey been like?
I’ve been going cross genres since day one. My first album had bossa nova, hip hop, funk, to disco vibes and this sophomore album has more elements of jazz funk mixed in with boogie, soul, and nu disco. I want to continue to incorporate the diverse sounds that I’m inspired by daily into the music I create. Jazz funk is where I’m heavily leaning towards at the moment because of its musical sophistication beyond a typical funk/pop arrangement, and there is an abundance of potential for getting experimental and unapologetically spacey.
How does your cultural background inform your songwriting?
I think it’s natural that your heritage is heard all over the music you create. With songwriting and lyrics it’s based on either my own experience or others that have impacted me. As long as I live in this time, you’ll hear the people, location, and culture I’m surrounded by in my lyrics, harmonies, and arrangements that I create.
Talk about your new album. What’s it all about?
The theme is space. Space is infinite and there are so many mysteries around it so it naturally gets our creative mind flowing. When you can visualize it in your mind, the imagination can go wild. This is the case with the music too, and it allows me to become experimental and push boundaries.
I was also inspired to work with this theme from the music I grew up listening to, like Sun Ra, for example. His Arkestra was formed around the philosophies of the cosmos and I’ve always been fascinated.
Which tracks have been the most difficult or challenging to produce and why?
There are 10 tracks. The most challenging tracks to produce were the ones that have live instruments, especially drums. There were a few of those tracks and mixing can take time. There’s a lot to balance.
How has your voice developed from when you launched your career?
It’s changed a lot. There’s more character in my voice, and with the new album the music is more focused and cohesive overall. There’s a central common theme, which is space, with every song. They’re all threaded together as one collection.
What do you find most exciting about performing music?
I get to transmit the ecstatic emotions that I have from the music that I’ve created. Also being seen on stage, I am able to show what I’ve visualized in my head with the clothing I wear.
I get excited when I know I have the opportunity to make everyone feel good and transport them to another dimension. I want them to transition to that world with me!
Where is your home base and name your favorite clubs there?
My home base is Boston, Massachusetts. My favorite party spots are Brass Union in Somerville where I DJ, and the Sinclair on Saturday nights where there’s an all-soul music night called Soulelujah. I also enjoy the new bar that’s popped up in my neighborhood in Quincy, called Idle Hour. It’s got a touch of 80s interior design, and I dig that.
Where in the world would you most like to perform?
Anywhere fun in Europe! I’d love to perform at a spot that is open to hearing my kind of jams.
How have you launched this LP?
It’s been released on vinyl. I performed the songs in early April at the Institute of Contemporary Art and I’ll be making presence on various radio shows. I’m going to see where this takes me from there. People have asked me to perform in various locations, so we’ll see.
How did the other musicians bring this project to life?
The production was a collaborative effort between myself and Yuki (“U-KEY”) Kanesaka aka Monolog. He played most of the synths and drums, and we worked together to create drum sample sequencing and musical arrangements. He also did the mix.
The mastering was done by my go-to guy Tom Waltz at Waltz Mastering. We recorded with drummer J-Zone on a couple of tracks which will be the first 7” single release. We have other incredible local musicians such as Mark Zaleski on alto sax, Tomoki Sanders on tenor sax, Tucker Antell on flute and tenor sax, Julian Dessler on trumpet, Jeffrey Lockhart and Yuma Hara on guitar.
“Supanova” is on vinyl via our Chicago-based record label called Star Creature Universal Vibrations. You can find the label on our Bandcamp page, online shops like Juno.co.uk and various record shops worldwide. With digital tracks, you’ll find them on all usual online platforms.
One of the exciting things about the album is the artwork. It was done by the comic book artist Steven E. Gordon who contributed to the comics like Jem and the Holograms, X-Men Avengers and many others. Can’t wait for the world to hear and see it!