Segarini – I Hear Voices …and A “New Kid in Town”

I’m not much on the televised dog and pony shows that hold auditions for young, aspiring, artists, make them sign a contract that basically reads as indentured slavery, and then trots them out onstage with a new coat of paint, some killer lighting, a cadre of stylists, and a backup band of major talent, and lets a panel of judges (and the public) decide who gets a shot at having a meltdown in a Lamborghini, a monkey to abandon in a European Airport, or a mansion complete with a pool full of your best buddies, every peeler within 15 miles of your place, and a fridge full of Red Bull.

However, these shows and other contests do one thing consistently well …they find great voices. But a Great Voice isn’t enough. There are MILLIONS of great voices …but very few that are unique, and backed by passion, soul, personality, hard work, and the ability to interpret great songs or write great songs.

Even the public, all by themselves, have made huge stars out of everyone from a 16 year old truck driver from Tupelo, to an angry street thug from Liverpool, and other dark horses from backgrounds that would almost always assure a life of poverty or crime.

Like sports, the ability to sing, play, and/or write music that gives comfort, insight, and/or a voice to your thoughts, can elevate a person out of the deepest hole, the bleakest terrain, or the most hopeless of circumstances.

There are voices and music that have inspired me since I was a toddler. I can’t tell you why, or how, but I can tell you that the voices that raised the hair on my arms steered me down a path no one in my family or environment had prepared me for, voices that continue to shape my trajectory through life to this day. …and to this day, I am still impacted by voices heretofore unheard by me, the very first time I hear them.

Here are some of the Voices, old and new, that inspire, entertain, and amaze me. Reflecting life, speaking to, with, and for me, and making sense out of the chaos of life’s constant surprises, challenges, and mysteries.

Frank Sinatra

The Master of making you believe he is singing only to you. The King of interpreting some of the greatest songwriters who ever lived. Francis didn’t just lean on the bar, he set it.

Mel Torme

Every time The Velvet Fog sang, he could have charged for a singing lesson and being a therapist. Comfort Food in the form of a man in a bow tie with a gleam in his eye. A voice couched in pure joy.

Nat King Cole

I used to race home from Woodrow Wilson Elementary to catch this man’s 15 minute show on television. His relaxed and informed delivery was like butter slowly melting in the sun. Smooth, warm, and unmatched to this day.

Ray Charles

When ‘Live at Newport’ was released, Ray Charles was suddenly on every turntable in my neighborhood, and when ‘What’d I Say’ surfaced on the newly omnipresent rock and R&B radio stations, every teenage band would learn it and haul it out at sock hops and proms to light the fire under the kids with sweaty palms and nervous energy to spare. The Raelets, fronted by singer Margie Hendricks, had in her, a voice capable of keeping up with Ray’s …and keep up, she did.

Sam Cooke

We’ll let Mr. Cooke speak for himself. His voice and his influence still rings true to this day. Socially conscious, and ahead of his time, he is another fallen hero, brought down by a knee-jerk reaction from a racially prejudiced simpleton who added 2 + 2 and came up with 5.

This performance still brings tears.

Little Richard

Yeah …no Richard, No McCartney.

Nina Simone, Aretha, and Etta James

There have always been amazing female artists, and Ella, Lena, Sarah, and the others who predated these three certainly deserve a place on this list, but when it comes to unique voices, especially at a time when female artists were rare on the airwaves, these three giants were the starting gun for many artists who came in their wake.

James Brown

Seriously, there will always only be one James Brown. Vocally, this man was a Cadillac with no brakes and no steering wheel, yet he managed to always keep it on the road.

Otis Redding

When Otis came on the radio, it got turned up as loud as it would go. If you were in a car, you rolled down the windows when you were cruising the Avenue, and other cars would find the station and tune in too.

James Taylor

James’ folk period didn’t really impact on me, but with the release of Sweet Baby James, he became a hero. The songs, the delivery, he had matured into one of the best singer songwriters in the history of the genre. His music changed my life for the better not once, but twice, and this first song was the background music to the beginning of the end of my marriage. He is the only artist I would love to have dinner with and just talk about life.

Love him so much, he gets two ….

Bonnie Raitt

If ever there were a woman who was welcomed into the Boys Club in a heartbeat, it was Bonnie. An accomplished player, soul to spare, incredible taste and choice in notes and when not to play, and a voice like jalapeño honey. An inspiration to generations of players including a current favourite.

Looking at this list, there are so many more I wish I could include, but what the hell, I’ll do a part two of this some time this Summer.

In the meantime, here are some current artists who have voices I believe are unique and worthy of your attention.

Jay Buchanan

The lead singer for Rival Sons, he and they have been on my radar since 2010, but only now are they getting the attention and the airplay they deserve. This young man, currently, has NO peer in the rock firmament. He stands alone as simply The Best.

Jonah Nilsson

Singer for fave band, Dirty Loops, Jonah spreads his wings here with the incredible Richard Bona and delivers a performance that just sizzles. I can hear influences in his voice, from Stevie Wonder to Marvin Gaye, but the kid makes his own sound, and it is, in my humble opinion, at the forefront of jazz/soul fusion. Would love to hear Nilsson duet with Bruno Mars with Richard Bona leading the band.

Samantha Fish

Remember what I said about Bonnie Raitt being a continuing influence on this generation’s players. Samantha is one such player and singer, but she brings a uniqueness all her own to the mix. Another duet I would love to hear. Sam is touring this year. Go see her before her ticket prices get where they will eventually go. Great singer, superb player and entertainer.

Amira Willighagen

She was 9 years old when she won the “Holland’s Got Talent” television program and has not slowed down at all. This 15 year old has a career ahead of her that could eclipse many who have performed this music before her. She never fails to move me with that pure, soulful, passionate voice. She is, without a doubt, an Old Soul and one of a kind.

And one more you need to keep your eyes on.

Peter Serrado

Well, he’s not Brand New, and he ain’t no kid, but he belongs on this list.

An old friend whose taste I trust and whose aim is true tipped this young man, and I have been listening to his music for about a week.

I kept going back to it because I was drawn in by his voice in a couple of different ways. At first listen, it sounded familiar, comfortable, but I couldn’t place a reason for feeling that way. There was something different about it, and although my first reaction was trying to put names to what I thought were influences, that reaction gave way to just listening and enjoy what I was hearing.

The truth is, he doesn’t sound like anyone but himself. There are qualities I like in singers, sticking to the melody, phrasing that fits the feel of the music, and a raspy, ‘lived in’ quality to the voice that gives weight to the lyrics being sung. …and all those things are present in Serrado’s voice and performance, but he sounds like no other singer who also possess these traits. There are moments he reminds me of other artists, but the feeling evaporates as quickly and as mysteriously as it appears.

And then it hit me. The songs he writes.

They too, are chameleon like. Upon listening to his brand new CD, I realized this guy is a SONGWRITER in the old school style, and unlike any of the gang-written stuff permeating the airwaves after being Max Martinized into sameness and formulaic ‘hits’

These songs, the ones Serrado pens himself, could be covered by other artists ranging from Country, to Urban, to Contemporary, to Pop, Jazz …you name it, these are SONGS.

From the opening chords of ‘Lisbon’, to the fade out of ‘Face to Face’, this young man has The Goods.

Not knowing much about him, I tracked down his short Bio and found this:

“” “To describe Peter Serrado to any music fan in its simplest terms would be to say that he is a fresh and soulful acoustic pop sound that’s been waiting to happen. With a unique voice that is drenched in a sweet raspy tone, from a subtle whisper to a scream, Peter’s expression is powerful yet intimate, wise yet playful, and evokes the scope of artists such as Bob Dylan, Tom Petty or Jeff Buckley. As a writer, he captures the essence of a sage-like soul, pinning reflective imagery with poignant lyrics against heart-felt emotions that grow out of melodies strewn across genres both past and present.

Born in Toronto, Canada, Peter gravitated to music and an early age, discovering a deep love of retro soul and funk, European crooners, Americana roots and R&B. With time, his passion grew and put him on a path to express his own musical interpretation of what he felt inside.

As his artistry has evolved, so has Peter. Now, embracing the many styles of music that came before him, Peter distills genres, reckoning what has led him here, with a sense of what is yet to be. Live performances have grounded him, affording opportunities to connect on a more intimate level with ever growing crowds that gravitate to his music, style, and of course, his look, which is a factor not lost on those who have seen him perform. Local festivals have come calling and now, with the release of his self-titled debut album, Peter is poised to bring his authentic and soulful message to a wider audience with a determination to prove the waiting is over, his time is now.”

Now you know as much as I do.

The reason I am giving him so much space is simple. He is  playing in Toronto at The Piston on June 5th and if you are around here, then you can see him and judge for yourselves. He’s a local boy, and you know how we feel about local artists here at DBAWIS.

He’s won competitions both here for CHIN radio and Long and McQuade, and for “Best New Talent” at The International Portuguese Music Awards in Boston last weekend. …and he won it with his English music!

Here’s some of Peter’s music. Including one in his native Portuguese.

Pay attention to new music, new artists, and spread the word about your favourites.

The Best Music is yours to discover.


Segarini’s columns appears even though they have had restraining orders issued against them

dbawis-button7giphyBob “The Iceman” Segarini was in the bands The Family Tree, Roxy, The Wackers, The Dudes, and The Segarini Band and nominated for a Juno for production in 1978. He also hosted “Late Great Movies” on CITY TV, was a producer of Much Music, and an on-air personality on CHUM FM, Q107, SIRIUS Sat/Rad’s Iceberg 95, (now 85), and now publishes, edits, and writes for DBAWIS, continues to write music, make music, and record.

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