This was supposed to be a ‘where are they now‘ but plans changed thanks to a little net surfing. Actually, I came across this checking out a site I will talk about soon. Right now, let’s talk heavies… as in Brand New Heavies. Never heard of them? Shame on you, but i’ll let you walk with me anyway.
The Brand New Heavies (the Heavies for short), starting as a trio, was formed in London, England back in the mid eighties as an instrumental group. The sound was a mix of Retro Funk groove (think James Brown and the like) and Acid Jazz. Shortly thereafter, the Heavies, gained a horn section and a bigger following in the club. Eventually, they got a record deal and a vocalist along with some major buzz. An self titled album was done, and things popped off. Because of this, the group came to the attention of Delicious Vinyl Records here in the States. Somewhere in there, the then vocalist Jay Ella Ruth, ended up not in the group. So, Delicous Vinyl grabbed a young, VERY nice vocalist named N’Dea Davenport. In 1992,The Heavies re-recorded their album with N’dea’s vocal and pushed it out. Again, there was magic, just now on american soil. You may be familiar with the songs ‘Stay This Way‘ or the more poular ‘Never Stop‘ from this album. That same year, the group dabbled in Hip Hop with the album ‘Heavy Rhyme Experience, Vol. 1‘, which mixed the Heavies sound with the time’s hot rappers like Grand Puba, The Pharcyde, and Gangstarr (whose lyricist, Guru, hollered at N’dea to do a song on his ‘Jazzmatazz vol. 1’ album). Two years later (after the group’s platinum selling album, ‘Brother Sister‘), N’dea left the group and went solo which, personally, was a bad call but what can you do. She was replaced with the very talented Siedah Garrett.
Now, I have to say that this was not a bad deal for Siedah or the group, as she has either written, sang or collaborated on many songs you probably know. She started as a back up singer for Quincy Jones and Micheal Jackson and even went on to pen a few little known numbers like, ‘The Secret Garden(Sweet Seduction Suite)‘ and ‘Man in the Mirror‘ for them respectively. She also ended up having 2 solo albums before and during her Heavies gig. Notable song, ‘Refuse to be Loose‘ from the first one. Personally, she will forever be known to me for singing one of my favorite (and life soundtrack candidate) songs, ‘Ever Changing Times‘. I just found out she did another favorite of mine called ‘Sexy‘ for Maysa‘s 1995 self titled album and a few others. The girl is bad, but unfortunately, it didn’t translate into sales for the Heavies 1997 album, ‘Shelter‘. The album was good and had two personal hits with the songs ‘Feels Like Right‘ and the single ‘Sometimes‘. My guess is, people were missing N’dea and I can see it if that were the case. While Siedah is a powerhouse in her own right, N’dea voice is perfect with the group’s sound. N’dea, by the way, did come out with a self titled solo album in 1998. It did alright, I guess. It was R&B with flashes of the sound she had with the Heavies and yielded a hit with the song, ‘Bring it On‘.
So, here we are asking, “now what”? The Heavies hadn’t had an album since ’97 unless you count the import album, ‘We Won’t Stop’, which is possibly vocal less, or ‘All About the Funk’ earlier this year. I don’t know about either of those. But what I know is that there is a brand new Heavies album(could be June 27th) coming out soon called ‘Get Used To It’ that is featuring N’dea on vocals….as it should be. And that, my friends, is where it’s at. I’ve heard a song off of the album and it sounds good. If you want to hear it, go here. Doth endeth the lesson.
Incidently, there was Brand New Heavies Greatest hits album back in 2000 that had a new song featuring N’dea on vocals. Coincidentely, it was called, ‘Finish What You Started’
(EDIT) See, not doing my job properly. I forgot to mention their websites: