In addition to showcasing a love for 1960s and 1970s soul, Shawn Lee also steers his latest musical mystery tour into psychedelic and cinematic territory over the course of 12 brand new cuts. Sing a Song is like a breezy summertime mixtape, packed with catchy motor city licks and space age songs that Lee built from scratch with each collaborating vocalist in mind. Inviting vocalists from as far afield as Kansas City, Los Angeles, London, Detroit and New York, Lees’ latest album features Princess Superstar, artist Paul Fryer, and blind street performer Robert Bradley. During recording Lee had to be admitted to hospital for an emergency appendix operation, just a few days after his wife gave birth to their second girl. But the musical drive in Mr Lee is so strong there’s always time to Sing a Song.
Shawn Lee and his Ping Pong Orchestra will be in the USA this Fall to play their first ever gigs, including a stop at Bumbershoot in Seattle…hold tight for more gigs.
He kicks the album off with a duet featuring Orgone chanteuse Fanny Franklin, and their vocals lace an epic string-laden instrumental with a cautionary tale for fakers and flakes. Lee came across Marcus Malone while remixing a band called Jettricks. Surprised to learn that Malone is a mature guy with a young voice (and not vice versa) he was inspired to write a Motown-fueled jam for the Detroit native who was at one point signed to the legendary label. Making a brief appearance on “Who Are You,” Bing Ji Ling is originally from San Francisco but now resides in Brooklyn, NY. As a solo artist and member of The Phenomenal Handclap Band he’s a talented singer and instrumentalist, and more importantly “rocks the best beard and glasses combo I've ever seen!” according to Lee.
Lee met Jeremiah through connections with The Phenomenal Handclap Band and despite having just been discharged from hospital (for an emergency appendix operation) and having a baby daughter born less than three weeks prior Lee managed to record Jeremiah while he was on a quick trip through London. Lord Large is made up of Andrew J Jones and Stephen Large, “a man who plays keyboards like a frickin' wizard!” says Lee. "Fading Light" features Robert Bradley on lead vocals. Bradley is a blind street performer and songwriter from Detroit and a former RCA and Vanguard artist. He's a long time friend of Kid Rock and sang and appeared in the movie Lackawanna Blues and the music documentary "Playing for Change". Their track is a different version of the song that appeared on an earlier Lord Large album.
Lee is solo on “I’ll Just Wait A While” which starts out as a bluesy stripped-down song before morphing into space-age pop. It complements the two tracks with The Superimposers, a two man London group comprised of Dan Warden and Miles Copeland. Lee recently produced their new album and has joined the band, “ We go together like peanut butter & jelly and pimps and fur coats.” Fade Up is an amazing rolling funky folk track for hazy summer days while “Don’t Let That Feeling” is quirky tripped out soul. Lee also produced tracks for Princess Superstar, the native New Yorker who has worked with Kool Keith and Grandmaster Flash. Together the Mensa-member soulstress and relentless producer turn in slightly tongue in cheek soul jam. Born and raised in Wichita, Kansas, Lee had to make the Kansas City connection with rapper/singer/producer/trumpeter and MPM recording artist Miles Bonny. Midwest represent!
Lee describes Paul Fryer as “total and utter creative genius.” The DJ, club promoter, singer and successful artist was musical director for fashion house Fendi for 5 years and released a book of his poetry with illustrations by fellow artist and friend Damian Hirst. Their beautiful and cinematic track rounds out the album.
Lees’ last three albums were also collaborations. In addition to the aforementioned Bei Bei he has recently worked with Clutchy Hopkins on the Fascinating Fingers album, and with Money Mark and Tommy Guerrero under the name Lord Newborn & The Sugar Skulls. He has plans to do some major interpretations of famous classical pieces later in the year, and has a “World Of Funk” album in the works.