HEAVy - First Sessions
HEAVy - First Sessions
(CD) Kindred Spirits, 2009-03-23
In 2009, HEAVy drops their "First Sessions" CD filled with classic and unreleased material of the band in it's early stage. As to where Jazz Money$$ had some strong 80 influences, First Sessions returns to the late 70's soul and funk. Including the hit single "Do For You" and sought after remixes by Jazzanova, DJ Spinna and YamWho? A true must for soul and HEAVy fans, plus a great opportunity to get your hands on the remixes!
HEAVy - First Sessions
(CD) Kindred Spirits, 2009-03-23
01. Bumper 1ne 02:15
02. Do For You 04:44
03. Sez Who Sez Me 05:34
04. Unbelievable 04:24
05. Summer Song 05:29
06. Change 06:16
07. Gwaan 05:08
08. She Who Knows 06:26
09. Music 05:16
10. I Know My Way 05:10
11. Bumper 2wo 02:15
12. Just Can't Get 03:46
13. Wonderlove 05:41
14. Wonderlove (Jazzanova Mix) 06:33
15. Just Can't Get (DJ Spinna Remix) 04:38
16. Do For You (Yam Who? Remix) 05:25
The dynamic duo of Nicky Guiland and Casey Benjamin - - aka HEAVY - - are busy breathing fresh new life into music with their vibrant synthesis of soul, pop, hip-hop and rock.
Hailing from the rich hotbed of musical heritage that is Jamaica, Queens, NY, the two have seized the baton from their wide range of influences, from Rotary Connection and Herbie Hancock to N*E*R*D and No Doubt, mixed in a bit of '80's nostalgia and emerged with an undeniably unique and timely sound. With Nicky drawing favorable comparisons to a young Chaka Khan (and of course Minnie), and Casey playing off Nicky's etherealisms ..s and with his distinctive production, HEAVY updates the Groove Theory model of the 'power duo' to fantastic results with seemingly limitless possibilities.
Nicky, of Trinidadian Jamaican heritage, demonstrated from an early age that she was destined to be a performer, dancing around the house and in home videos from two years old. Her mother had danced semi-professionally growing up in Jamaica and it was no surprise to her when both Nicky and her older sister showed interest and precocious talent in dance. After early years of neighborhood training, at ten years old Nicky moved onto The Professional Childrens program at the Broadway Dance Center. BDC offered a demanding curriculum in a competitive environment and Nicky studied and worked alongside ambitious young Broadway and television/film professionals such as Savion Glover, Melissa Joan Hart and Brittany Murphy. Even as her skill and interest in dance continued to grow, by the time she was eleven, Nicky could often be heard singing around the house and at school. The broad mix of Broadway standards, jazz, classical arias and radio hits of the late 70s and early 80s (Donna Summer, Janet Jackson, Blondie, Barbra Streisand, etc.) she heard in her dance classes and at home enraptured her and she began to dream of becoming a singer. Her family took notice and encouraged her to pursue this additional interest. At twelve, Nicky auditioned and was accepted into the vocal department at the prestigious Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of the Performing Arts - - widely known as the school upon which the hit TV show FAME was based. Thereafter singing became her main focus and she spent the four years at La Guardia immersed in music, collaborating with fellow vocalists and instrumentalists. One of whom happened to be a quirky dressing young man with a highly sheened blow-out-afro named Casey Benjamin.
Grenadian/Panamanian Casey also began his musical career at a young age. Growing up in a house full of sound, (his father was a part time bass player and neighborhood DJ) Casey would rummage through his fathers enormous vinyl record collection. Listening to the eclectic sounds of artists such as The Bar-Kays, Chicago, Art Garfunkel, Pat Metheny, Quincy Jones, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer sparked an interest which lead to teaching himself to play the piano. At the age of eight when instruments were passed out at school, Casey received the saxophone and quickly displayed a prodigious command of the instrument. A few years later, his father heard that some of the neighborhood kids were forming a band and encouraged Casey to join as the bands keyboardist. The band, Legacy, soon became a local favorite, winning talent shows and performing at adult nightclubs, offering Casey his first tastes of performing. After winning Amateur Night at Harlems World Famous Apollo Theatre, Legacy was signed by Andre Harrell to Uptown Records and Caseys introduction into the harsh realities of show business and the recording industry began in earnest. In developing their debut album for Uptown, Legacy worked with some of the top hit making producers and music industry movers-and-shakers of the mid-90s including, Track Masters, Easy Mo Bee, Reese Johnson, the Lost Boys, even a young intern named Sean Combs. However, before Legacy could release its debut, Uptown folded and the project was shelved by its parent company, MCA. Not long afterwards, Legacy disbanded and Casey returned to normal teen age life, enrolling as a student at Fiorello H. LaGuardia.
The story doesnt end there though
The shear enormity of talent and ambition of their peers at LaGuardia initially made it difficult for Nicky and Casey to connect with one another. It was quite a challenge to stand out in a school where future stars such as Kelis, Marlon Wayans and Sarah Michelle Gellar were also walking the halls, also serving their apprenticeships. And since the vocal and instrumental departments were separate and resided on different floors, Nicky and Casey didnt even actually begin working together until their junior year. Casey was in the Jazz band; Nicky in the New Music Singers. However by their senior year, Nicky had become the Canary for the Jazz band and Casey was widely recognized as the star saxophone player. A great friendship and partnership had been bornThe next year they followed each other to Thomas Mannes/New School University in Manhattan. The New School also was a treasure trove of developing talent and alongside other neophyte musical visionaries such as Bilal and John Popper (of Blues Traveler) they cut their teeth working with some of the masters of jazz, including Buster Williams, Reggie Workman, Chico Hamilton and many others. Nicky was selected to represent the state of New York in Köln, Germany, along with five other students from the United States, at the International Association of Schools of Jazz (IASJ) in 2000. Meanwhile, in early 2001, Casey left the music program due to an increasingly hectic touring schedule. While still in high school, Casey had begun touring with the likes of Betty Carter, Buster Williams, Vernon Reid and DJ Logic. By 2000 Casey had become musical director for DJ Logics band, Project Logic, and begun collaborating with the master turntablist to define the groups signature sound. Their fusion of Hip Hop, Jazz, and funk became a hit on the jam band scene, taking Casey to different cities, and then states, then countries as the bands popularity grew.
So this brings us to May 2001 where the idea of HEAVY first began to formulate. It was Nickys senior recital, and Casey rounded out a unit of Jazz/Soul/Fusion players. After a great show of standards and originals, the audience gave them a standing ovation and begged for more. Casey and Nicky looked at each other and knew they were onto something. Since the two were already writing together it made sense to give it a real try. Nicky came up with a name for the project based on the comments theyd begun receiving about the new music they were creating. As Nicky recalls, people would come up to us after shows and have this excited look on their faces and say Wow! That was heavy so I thought maybe if thats really what we are it would make a great name Simple as that, HEAVY was born, and the two havent looked back since.