Hip-hop/soul group makes their return to the stage
Published: Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Updated: Wednesday, August 24, 2011 19:08
After being silent for a six month hiatus, Orlando's biggest up-and-coming hip-hop/soul group, Essence d'Âme, is back in business.
Laying down infectious grooves since early 2009, Essence d'Âme (meaning "essence of soul" in French) have made themselves known throughout Orlando by playing countless shows, self-promoting and wielding an addictive sound that blends hip-hop and soul music with a '70s style.
Formed three years ago by keyboardist and hip-hop producer Nick Palmer along with lead rapper Kenny Allen and singer Lou Magee, the band slowly began to climb its way to the top, adding Will Busby on guitar, Bryan Eastman on bass and Ryan Eiland on drums along the way.
"When it comes to writing music with hip-hop, we have a very worldly sound. There's a lot of different styles coming from each of us," Busby said. "If you leave after one of our shows, you probably won't be sure how to pronounce the name. You sure will recognize it from then on though."
Sharing the stage with artists such as Peter Baldwin, B-Liminal, One31 and The Whitey Tighties, Essence d'Âme built a fan base and gained a reputation for having great live shows with constantly changing set lists. The group also became known for being professional both on and off the stage.
"I love those guys. They're great, very professional," said Brian Panzella, guitarist for The Whitey Tighties. "They're on time, cool backstage and always stay out of the other bands' way when they're setting up."
After getting their name out in Orlando, the band eventually ended up with the chance of a lifetime earlier this year: playing with Ja Rule, Noreaga and Benzino at Chakra Lounge.
The band's luck took a turn for the worse, however, in the days leading up to the big show when Allen's kidneys began to fail, resulting in a severe spinal infection.
Over several months, the band went off the radar while Allen was taken all over the United States to find treatment for his condition. Thankfully, he eventually did receive the treatment he needed and made a full recovery. With Allen ready to pick the mic up again, it was time for the band to make a comeback.
On Aug. 26, at Hard Rock Live, the band will play their first show in six months.
"The Hard Rock is a good welcome back. They'll be seen by everyone in the world," said Rob Soviero, director of promotions at WPRK 91.5 FM and bookie of the band's show at Hard Rock Live. "I look forward to seeing that big, organic hip-hop sound at Hard Rock. They're back and better than ever."
Today, the tenacious six-piece continues to stand out not only with their blend of hip-hop and soul music, but with an overall positive message in their lyrics written by Allen and Magee.
"When you talk about the essence of soul, it's all positive and soulful messages, but it's still intellectual and interesting," said Palmer, who writes the majority of the band's music.
With lyrics speaking of freedom and making changes in your life for the better, the band also avoids cursing and derogatory terms frequently used in hip-hop music.
"There's a large amount of people that are unhappy with popular music that's on the radio and the message that hip-hop is going towards right now as far as being negative and thuggish," Palmer said. "I have strong faith that there's a ton of people waiting for a band to come along that's musical and that brings real music back with complexity, feeling and positivity."
The also band recently began recording their first full-length record at Real Feel Recordings, Palmer's own recording studio.
Essence d'Âme will be playing tomorrow at Hard Rock Live at 8 p.m. along with The Whitey Tighties, Random Encounter and Unit Shifters. Tickets can be found at Real Feel Recordings and Park Avenue CDs.