Originally from Scotland but now based in the South East, Chantelle Duncan is one of the UK’s top session singers.
Winner of Young Jazz Soloist of the Year at the Blackfriar’s Jazz Festival she went on to sing internationally and has worked with Nile Rodgers, Ronnie Wood, Dr John, Quincy Jones, KT Tunstall, Nerina Pallot, Gilbert O’Sullivan, Brian May, ABC, Philip Bailey & Marc Almond.
Her debut album delivers soundscapes of melancholy fused with celtic electronica.
Chantelle Duncan – ‘Breathe’
With credits for Nile Rodgers and Quincy Jones, session vocalist Duncan showcases a versatile range. Songs imbued with heartbreak and hard-won wisdom.
Chantelle Duncan, an internationally successful session singer and celebrated performer in her adopted town of Hastings, has finally made her first solo album Breathe. She’s a bit late to her own party, but some things take a lot of cooking.
Blessed with pretty much a perfect voice for every occasion, up until now her life has been about singing for others. The list of people she has worked with is impressive. Nile Rodgers, Quincy Jones, Gilbert O’Sullivan, Brian May, Ronnie Wood, Dr John, Alexander O’Neil and so on.
However, Chantelle Duncan is a wolf. In the proverbial sheeps’ clothing. Long soft twisty hair, a cheeky Scottish smile and too pretty to be in the background. Don’t be fooled! Lard wouldn’t melt in her mouth and although her album is often lovely, there’s something quite sinister going on here.
Chantelle’s melodies range from good to very good – she doesn’t over-sing and her vocal gymnastics are done in all the right places – all seems quiet in the hood. Even the picture of her on the album cover is tasteful. But. There really is a trace of the demon in her eyes.
This is not an album, it’s an autobiography – and one of sugar-coated angst and revelation at that. Reading the lyric book from the CD to catch the bits you miss, I wondered who had hurt her and what her revenge had been.
Did she realise this piece of work would let us all in the back door she forgot to lock? Chantelle is not a normal girl who scrubs up well. Part angel part sprite who hallucinates for the hell of it, has known misery and clearly fought back.
The only cover on this album is Tracks of My Tears, slowed down and made Chantelle’s own. The rest of the songwriting is all hers, from the very retro Dangerville to the Portishead-chord-ish All That Glitters Is Not Gold.
Chantelle has had the good sense to draft in expertise behind the console. Sophisticated local jazz geniuses James McMillan and Greg Heath contribute instrumental stylings and clever production that ooze class.
Just before Christmas the first track Holding Onto Ghosts was played on Graham Norton’s Radio 2 Saturday morning show. If this kind of exposure continues she’ll surely get the attention she deserves.
Great singing Chantelle.
This album is your revenge.