‘Dedicated’ is Renée Geyer’s twenty-second album. And she’s convinced with this record she’s reached a turning point.
“I do rhythm and blues,“ Renée explains. “This genre of music picked me. I didn’t pick it. From a very early age I was listening to it on my transistor radio under my pillow. At fourteen or fifteen years of age I knew that this was the music I connected with. With this record I’ve turned some kind of corner where the suit that was bought for me as a young girl, that I knew was a beautiful suit, only just now fits. It just feels right.
“I always try to co-write with different people for every record. My ego as a singer is bigger than my ego as a writer, so it’s always the best songs that make it. When I was offered this new recording deal with EMI I thought what would be great this time would be to do a mixture of existing classics and new songs as well.
“The hard part was finding more classic r&b; songs to sing. I’d already picked the main ones that I wanted for ‘Tenderland’ [Renée’s incredibly successful twentieth album, released four years ago] so I really had to search and search carefully for songs that when you hear them they’re known but not obvious soul songs.
“’Tenderland’ was the first time I finally agreed to do interpretations of existing soul classics. I’ve always dabbled and had the odd one or two on albums, but I’d never before wanted to make a record totally like that. After being asked to for so many years I finally did it when I turned 50. I thought, if ever there was a time to do it, now was the time.
“With this record ‘Dedicated’, like with ‘Tenderland,’ I wanted to pay homage to the writers of the songs more so than the existing versions of the songs.
“There’s no way that anyone is ever going to recreate an existing gem, but great songs are meant to be re-interpreted time and time again, and to me only a great song can be re-interpreted.
“Even though I’ve become the name that draws the people I’ve always been the singer in a band. Since I was very young I’ve always wanted to play with the best musicians. I’ve always been in that band because they’re a great band. Nothing’s changed on that level.
“Whereas the last two records had a lot of strings [after ‘Tenderland’ Renée released the all-new adventurous ‘Tonight’] there’s no strings on this record, it’s basically the four-piece band, organ-based, so it’s like the classic Al Green line-up of the early 70’s, with horns as the embellishment this time. Also, thanks to my co-producer/engineer Adam Rhodes, I’ve discovered a microphone that actually reproduces my voice in the truest way, picking up all the timbers of my tone, as it would sound to someone listening right next to me.
Today, listening to Renée Geyer we’re experiencing much more than a great voice and song interpreter at the microphone, in front of her band. Over the course of her incredible career Renée has also discovered and refined other talents. She’s become an arranger, imagining what goes where and how for the best result. And she co-produces her albums now.
“I’m completely hands on with my records,“ she confesses.
“I’m in love with this record. I have to admit it. This time, I really am. Normally, I’m over it by the time, through the process of recording and then mixing and mastering, we’ve heard everything a million times over and over again. It’s kind of like when couples fall in ‘love/lust’, get married…and then the ‘lust’ part of the relationship fades. This album sounds and feels as fresh as ever….every time I hear it (thanks in no small part to the incredible musicians appearing on it.) I’m still in ‘lust/love’. End of story.“
Words alone aren’t always sufficient. All of the things said about Renée Geyer…one of the world’s greatest singers…Australian music legend…are true and undeniable, but saying that about her isn’t enough. Renée Geyer is Renée Geyer, a singular talent who does not base her career on yesterday’s or tomorrow’s hit song, but on her next performance, on stage or in the studio, and refuses to rest on her laurels. There was always a voice. Those who heard her speak turned their heads from the first time she spoke, but that wasn’t enough for Renée Geyer, and it still isn’t enough for Renée Geyer. She’s a lot more now than she was before.
Renée Geyer’s twenty-second album is titled ‘Dedicated.’ And she believes she’s reached a tipping point with this album.
Renée explains, “I do rhythm and blues.” “I was chosen by this genre of music. I didn’t choose it. I listened to it on my transistor radio under my pillow since I was a child. I knew this was the music I connected with when I was fourteen or fifteen years old. With this record, I’ve reached a point where the suit that my mother bought for me when I was a young girl, and that I knew was a beautiful suit, only just now fits. It’s just a feeling.
“For each record, I try to collaborate with a different group of people. Because my ego as a singer is larger than my ego as a songwriter, the best songs always make the cut. When I was offered a new recording contract with EMI, I thought it would be great to do a mix of existing classics and new songs this time around.
“Finding more classic r&b songs to sing was the most difficult part.” I’d already chosen the main ones for ‘Tenderland,’ [Renée’s phenomenally successful twentieth album, released four years ago], so I had to search and search for songs that, when heard, are familiar but not obvious soul songs.
“The first time I agreed to do interpretations of existing soul classics was on ‘Tenderland.’ I’d always dabbled and had a couple on albums, but I’d never wanted to make a record that was completely different. After years of being asked, I finally did it when I was 50 years old. If there was ever a time to do it, I reasoned, now was it.
“With this album, ‘Dedicated,’ as with ‘Tenderland,’ I wanted to pay more homage to the song’s writers than to the existing versions of the songs.”
“No one will ever be able to recreate an existing masterpiece, but great songs are meant to be re-interpreted time and time again, and only a great song can be re-interpreted in my opinion.”
“Even though I’ve become a household name, I’ve always been a singer in a band.” I’ve always wanted to play with the best musicians since I was a child. I’ve always been a member of that band because they’re fantastic. On that level, nothing has changed.
“Whereas the previous two records had a lot of strings [following ‘Tenderland,’ Renée released the all-new adventurous ‘Tonight,’] there are no strings on this record; it’s basically a four-piece band, organ-based, so it’s like the classic Al Green line-up of the early 1970s, with horns as the embellishment this time.” Also, thanks to Adam Rhodes, my co-producer/engineer, I’ve discovered a microphone that accurately reproduces my voice, picking up all the timbers of my tone as if someone were listening right next to me.
Listening to Renée Geyer today is about much more than just hearing a great singer and song interpreter at the microphone in front of her band. Renée has developed and refined other skills over the course of her illustrious career. She’s evolved into an arranger, imagining what should go where and how in order to achieve the best result. She now co-produces her own albums.
“With my records, I’m completely hands on,” she admits.
“I’m completely enamored with this album.” It’s something I have to admit. This time, I’m serious. Normally, I’m over it by the time we’ve heard everything a million times over and over again during the recording, mixing, and mastering processes. It’s similar to when couples fall in ‘love/lust,’ marry, and the ‘lust’ part of the relationship fades away. Every time I hear it, this album sounds and feels as new as the first time I heard it (thanks in no small part to the incredible musicians appearing on it.) I’m still in a state of lust/love. “This is the end of the story.”