Chakra Bleu- 'We Shall Overcome'

Written by Victoria Scott & Staff

 

In Chakra Bleu's “We Shall Over Come,” social justice, reggae and pop-rock come together for a purpose. With lead guitar, bass slide, and rhythm guitar, the whole song flows. The arrangement is true pop-reggae incorporating guitar and drum riffs throughout. Rhythmically, everything grooves in the pocket. The instrumentation in “We Shall Over Come” is upbeat, intense, and gets the body moving.

 

The performance is by Chakra (lead vocals, electric and rhythm guitar), John Billings (bass and engineer), Brice Foster (drums), Ronnie Godfrey (keys), Paul Allen (lead guitar), and Scott Ducaj (trumpet) - their playing is immaculate. You can rally hear how well synced theses musicians are. Chakra's popping lead vocals and beautiful harmonies are pristine.

 

Her lyrics speak about freedom, equality, and unity between genders, sexual identity, and ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Her meaning is clear from the start. “Come on now, how long must this go on, this inequality’s lasted too long.” As a united front, we shouldn’t repeat history, “Why not learn from histories past mistakes, the time to ‘live and let live’ is never too late. We Shall overcome and lead the way.” This song has such a powerful lesson and message that it needs to be heard, especially with what is happening in the world today.“We Shall Over Come” shines a light with hope, while inspiring and encouraging future generations.

 

It is remarkable that Chakra Bleu was able to write a song with such an important and hard topic to speak on, while still being creative, politically sensitive, and firm in her message that everyone is accountable and can make a difference. This is how a great protest, social justice song is done.

 

"We Shall Overcome" is featured on BWH Music Group’s new release, ‘On Peace Street, Vol. One.’ The compilation album is a collection of 19 original songs in various genres by today's best independent artists and songwriters. Sharing songs about peace and social justice, the artist's songs will ultimately remind you of the importance of peace, fairness, love and unity. Filled with meaningful lyrics and exceptional music, this playlist is an example of how music can influence, and even change, people, movements, and society. Visit BWH Music Group Album Release Page for more information.

 

Chakra Bleu - 'We Shall Overcome'

Review Written by Daniel Hoyt & Staff

 

'We Shall Overcome' by Chakra Bleu is featured on BWH Music Group’s new release, ‘On Peace Street, Vol. One.’ The compilation album is a collection of 19 original songs in various genres by today's best independent artists and songwriters. Sharing songs about peace and social justice, the artist's songs will ultimately remind you of the importance of peace, fairness, love and unity. Filled with meaningful lyrics and exceptional music, this playlist is an example of how music can influence, and even change, people, movements, and society Marketed under Americana, “We Shall Overcome” is a fantastically catchy tune that captures reggae and pop-rock styles with ease. The song is hard to pigeon-hole into one genre or style. It is reminiscent of bands like No Doubt from the 90's and Men at Work from the 80s. The tune starts with a 50's rock and roll intro and the verses follow with a Marley-esque reggae motion. The fusion of styles become an ear-worm of surprises and twists that engage you from beginning to end.The strong chorus boasts a timeless, catchy pop-rock tune.

 

Chakra Bleu certainly shows that she has a diverse palate as a songwriter; she isn't afraid to write music that has vivid color. Another element that a listener with a keen ear will notice is the Corrs like tone Bleu has in her voice. It’s an amazing pop element in this song that is pleasing to any listener. Chakra's voice is very natural and comes from a place of confidence in what she is sharing, both musically and lyrically.

Inspired by incidents such as the Michael Brown shooting and those that followed, 'We Shall Overcome' is a powerful song reminiscent of Marley’s “Redemption Song,” which explored themes like emancipation from mental slavery. Bleu's song could even be an extension of that idea because it is asking humanity to work together for unification. With lines like, “Why not learn from history’s past mistakes,” Bleu asks us to logically think about the injustices of the past and how we can change our future for the better. Bleu's song is ultimately about unity through peace, and not through violence. The song asks for the end of violence, and for a resistance to stooping down to the enemy’s level.

 

“Lions will lie down before the lamb.”

Chakra Bleu speaks for the masses in her song “We Shall Overcome.” Her message, mixed with her insanely catchy melody, infectious beat, and down-to-earth vocals makes for a fusion that would appeal to any fan of any genre. This universal song is a good definition of all that Bleu has to offer. Her engaging songwriting and musicianship, along with her meaningful message, will surely stand the test of time.

 

 

About Chakra Bleu

 

Chart topping, Nashville artist, Chakra Bleu has been granted many awards throughout her career, including the “Arena Award. This award has been given to recipients such as Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire and is granted to artists who have contributed an inspiring presence in their community.

 

Chakra's music captures a fusion between genres such as Reggae, Americana, Pop-Rock and R&B. Bleu’s songs have been played across the US and Europe on Top 40, Country, A/C and AAA radio. She has also been in the spotlight of many showcases such as the Bluebird Cafe and BMI.

 

Chakra Bleu has released nine albums to date. All of her albums have had enormous success. Off her 7th album, the single "All of Me" charted #2 on the Top 40 as well as #1 on the Indie Top 40, holding for five weeks then onto #7 on the Top 100. The second single, "The Shadow," went to #4 on (NMW) Top 40. Off her 6th CD ‘Souvenir,’ five singles simultaneously bedazzled the charts.

 

Chakra Bleu - 10 Questions Music Interview

 

 

Chart topping, Nashville artist, Chakra Bleu has been granted many awards throughout her career, including the “Arena Award." This award has been given to recipients such as Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire - it is granted to artists who have contributed an inspiring presence in their community. Chakra's music captures a fusion between genres such as Reggae, Americana, pop-rock and R&B. Her songs have been played across the US and Europe on Top 40, Country, A/C and AAA radio. Chakra has released nine albums to date. All of her albums have had enormous success with multiple singles charting on the Indie Top 40 and more. Chakra Bleu is one of the artists who will be featured on BWH Music Group’s On Peace Street, a compilation album featuring 19 songs about peace and social justice.

 

What is the name of the song you have on Peace Street?

"We Shall Overcome"

What is the inspiration behind your song? Or, what is the song about?

Music has the power to unite like minds and hearts. This song's purpose is to promote unification and awareness that will stir us into action, with the hope that a positive change can be made. May it help promote true equality and justice, for all races, for all genders, for immigrants, for all sexual identities, and for equal voting rights for all.

 

With this song I ask the listener to consider their own dignity and encourage the dignity of all others through peaceful measures. Although this song was first inspired by the Michael Brown (Ferguson) shooting, along with the many other shootings following that, the overall message of this song reaches out to the Humanity in us all. This song reaches to unite us all from the Heart. This song calls out to come together in our diversity, to rein in Dignity, Justice, Freedom and Equality, standing up against those individuals and groups that chose violence, lies, fear, intimidation, hate crimes, greed and social-economic injustice. I ask that we use this song for the sake of Unification. We are at a crucial time not only in the United States, yet in the whole world, whereby the Voice of the Heart, the Voice of Humanity needs to come together and stand behind the leaders who stand for Peace, Equality and Justice. May this song promote a fervor in our hearts to stand and work together for the good for all and our Mother Earth.

How did you write your featured song? Or, can you describe your songwriting process? I actually wrote the melody sixth months prior to adding the lyrics. I knew that the melody was going to be about a social conscious song. I have found it more productive in my songwriting process, to first concentrate fully on the melody followed then later by the lyrics. So when it was time to add the lyrics to the melody, I had rented a Air BnB in Brevard, NC, in the Pisgah mountains that really bring out a lot of inspiration through my Soul. I replayed the melody on my handheld cassette player, while looking out the window at the beautiful peaceful scenery. I then let a quiet overcome me, while asking myself, "What is this song about?" Soon the concept of the song came clearly to me, as well as lyrics spilling themselves in pieces like puzzles upon the yellow pad before me. The song was extremely emotional and covered a lot of territory into subjects of dignity, justice, freedom, equality to the tremendous injustices from those individuals and groups that have chosen violence, lies, fear, intimidation, hate crimes greed and social-economic and environmental injustice. Who are your major music influences?

 

Country: Emmylou Harris; Willie Nelson; Johnny Cash; Waylon Jennings; George Jones; Buck Owens; Loretta Lynn; Patsy Cline; Patti Lovelace; Mary Chapin Carpenter; Hank Williams Sr.; Lefty Frizzell; Glen Campbell; Merle Haggard; Lacy J. Dalton Rock/R&B/Blues Pretenders; Fleetwood Mac; Annie Lennox; Heart; David Byrne; Tom Petty; Boston; Eagles; REM; Bruce Springsteen; Journey; Melissa Etheridge; Aretha Franklin;Bonnie Raitt; Stevie Ray Vaughn; Eric Clapton; Ella Fitzgerald; Billie Holliday; Sara Vaughn; George Benson; Delbert McClinton; **I have also been influenced by Jazz & Swing artists (& sang jazz in HS/College) ...some favorites include the greats: Sinatra; Glenn Miller; Lena Horne; Jango Reinhardt; Allison Mose; Tony Bennett; Dave Brubeck; Zoot Sims; ; Wynton Marsalis; John Coltrane; Miles Davis; Nat King Cole Trio; Thelonious Monk; Larry Carlton; Artie Shaw; and many more World Music thrills my taste in music in that is brings fresh sounds of rhythms and modes, bringing about the vibrancy of a particular culture. Favorite Producers: Owen Bradley (Brenda Lee; Loretta Lynn; Patsy Cline; Buddy Holly;Conway Twitty,etc) Emory Gordon Jr. (Patty Lovelace; Steve Earle; Rodney Crowell; Emmylou Harris; John Denver)

Trevor Horn (Seal; Grace Jones; Barry Manilow; Paul McCartney; Pet Shop Boys; Tina Turner; Rod Stewart; Frankie Goes to Hollywood)

 

Hugh Padgham (Police; Phil Collins; XTC; Davie Bowie; Melissa Etheridge; Split Enz; etc.)

 

Scott Matthews (Etta James; Patti Labelle; Huey Lewis; Nick Lowe; Bonnie Raitt; teve Perry; Stevie Ray Vaughn; Eric Clapton; Elvis Costello; Roy Orbison; Pointer Sisters, etc.)

When you wrote this song, did you have a goal in mind? For example, were you trying to raise awareness about an issue that’s close to your heart?

 

Although this song was first inspired by the Michael Brown (Ferguson) shooting, along with the many other shootings following that, the overall message of this song reaches out to the Humanity in us all. This song reaches to unite us all from the Heart. This song calls out to come together in our diversity, to rein in Dignity, Justice, Freedom and Equality, standing up against those individuals and groups that chose violence, lies, fear, intimidation, hate crimes, greed and social-economic injustice.

 

I wrote this song for the sake of unification. I believe we are at a crucial time not only in the United States, yet in the whole world, whereby the Voice of the Heart, the Voice of Humanity needs to come together and stand behind the leaders who stand for Peace, Equality and Justice. I wrote this song to promote a fervour in our Hearts to stand and work together for the good for all and our Mother Earth.

 

How did you get started in music?

 

I started playing the guitar in the 1st grade and began songwriting in the seventh grade. I picked up the bass, piano and mando later on... I sang in Jazz Choir in high school as well as playing bass for jazz band. I majored in music at EWU, all the while playing country and rock bands in the Spokane, WA. Soon after graduating college, I moved to Nashville, so that I could improve my songwriting, producing and recording artist skills.

Below is part of an artist bio from Phil Sweetland (New York Times music columnist) The whole bio can be read on my website: www.chakrableu.com "Since she was a kid growing up in Spokane, Washington, she benefited from having an older brother with a varied record collection. She loved the music of artists like Fleetwood Mac, Boston, Daryl Hall/John Oats, Doobie Brothers,Tom Petty, Pretenders, REM, U2, Annie Lennox, David Byrne, and more. At an early age, spellbound by the roots country guys, as she and her parents watched country awards shows on TV and Opry legends like Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Dolly Parton, and Loretta Lynn intrigued her, but her favorite and greatest influence at that stage was Emmylou Harris. The Washington native loves performing her own songs at popular Nashville venues, such as The Bluebird Café; 3rd & Lindsley; The Basement; Douglas Corner; The Rutledge; and many more. Like so many who move here, she spent a few years trying to write strictly country. That produced several fine songs. Chakra’s heart wanted more and so did fans at her shows. “It’s what is now called Americana, before Americana was defined,” she says, smiling. “I finally got to the place where I just wrote and played for the joy of it. It’s important for me to honor what my fans want.”

Thanks to the growth of the Web, Chakra Bleu’s audience spans into Europe, Australia, and even as far away as Japan. “They’re really into Americana over there,” Bleu says of her fast-growing international audience. “It’s really refreshing. When the Internet came along, it allowed indie artists like me to take the reins and run.” Chakra Bleu has found that even in a co-writing town like Nashville, she does her best writing alone. Yet she has co-written with some of the Row’s best, including Kim Richey and John Foster. Bleu is also able to play a variety of instruments. Guitar is her primary instrument, but she also plays piano, bass, and mandolin, all which impact her writing. A key technique that enables her to create so many signature songs, are the songwriting retreats she takes twice each year. “In the fall I go to the Blue Ridge Mountains for 10 days and lock myself in a cabin. I take all my charts and a tape recorder. Then in the summer I go to Washington state for three weeks to write,” she tells us. Those two venues on two different coasts have been breeding grounds for dozens of Chakra Bleu album favorites. “I love writing in the majestic energy of the mountains, as well as at the other cabin retreat at the snow-fed mountain lake in the inland Northwest.” “I’ve found that the beautiful nature around me inspires countless lyrical ideas and melodies to bubble up effortlessly.” For Chakra Bleu, both of these rural retreats seem a million miles away from Nashville, but the material she crafts there rejuvenates her to do even bigger and better things every time she returns to Music Row, to radio, and the concert stage. “Playing and singing is just a real pleasure. On each and every one of my CDs, I include songs which have inspiring and empowering messages, songs that simply put are food for thought,” she says. Fans and radio both in the States and overseas will be loving a steady diet of Chakra Blue’s musical food for thought for a long, long time. "

Of all the songs you’ve written, what was the most challenging and why? "We Shall Overcome" was challenging because it grouped a lot of issues into one song. I desire for this song to be Far Reaching and All Inclusive. Narrowing down umpteenth concepts, emotions and topics all included in this one song took multiple edits and crunching down words. Another song that was extremely emotional and mind demanding is 'Children Of The Sun'. This song is on my newly released 9th album, 'Living Life Grand'. The story of this song speaks on behalf of all Native Americans...the broken promises/treaties; stolen lives; broken spirits from missionaries coercing religious beliefs, all the while suppressing ancestral culture; land hungry homesteaders and minors bullying their land away with big guns, backed by the federal governments cruel tactics to outmanuever the dignity of countless tribes. This song cries out STILL on behalf of the heartless tactics of corporations backed by the WH to steal away and pollute even more Sacred Land. The land was never theirs to take.

 

How do you think music help promote world peace and social justice? Do you have a favorite social justice song? Music has the power to unite like minds and hearts through awareness. What is awareness? An idiom is to 'raise one's consciousness, to increase one's understanding of one's own needs, behavior, attitudes, etc. Music has a way to bring a proposal of a suggestion to a listener; allowing the person to give consideration to the ideas conveyed by the lyrics. These ideas are further motivated through the melody and emotional content that is portrayed through the content therein. There is a 'vibe' that is offering the listener a path to engage upon. Music and art, therefore can be powerful tools of communication. This particular song's purpose is to promote unification and awareness that will stir us into action, with the hope that a positive change can be made. I believe it can help promote true equality and justice, for all races, for all genders, for immigrants, for all sexual identities, and for equal voting rights for all. My favorite social conscious song is by John Lennon: 'Imagine'

What’s coming up in the future? I will be promoting my ninth CD, 'Living Life Grand' and it's new single on Americana radio format, backed by the reputable Nashville radio promoter who has fronted many other singles on my previous albums. Meanwhile, I have literally three albums worth of material ready to hone down into detailed plans of action. I am an Americana artist, which allows me to write, record, produces and perform 'American Music' which includes Rock/Pop; Country; Soul and even Reggae. I say, "life's too short to play one genre!" LOL

 

Tell us where fans can access your music? CDBaby

 

We Shall Overcome by Chakra Bleu on Spotify

 

 

I am honoured to be chosen as one of the few artists on the brand new BWH compilation album of Peace and Social Justice songs:
 
https://www.indiemusicreporter.com/post/we-shall-overcome-by-chakra-bleu-is-selected-for-bwh-music-group-s-on-peace-street

https://www.pleasepasstheindie.com/post/chakra-bleu-i-d-rather-stand-alone

https://www.indiemusicinterviews.com/post/chakra-bleu

Oh Lawd, My Dear Friends, I don't complain much at all, but I would like to share a secret with you.

The work that I have encountered now, including all the songs that have been written, edited and re-edited; arranged, produced; mastered; photo shoots; artist direction to prep Graphic Artist; prepping for manufacturing decisions; prepping for the Live CD Release Show.... (I really enjoy all those parts:)

Yet, now comes the least fun of this business for me...Heavy Sigh... This is the chapter where I tackle the job of publicity, and media tasks. These tasks entail that of composing, addressing and sending umpteenth letters to publications to inquire for reviews and such. Yes, I'm a hands-on artist, yet this takes a LOT of TIME! This left brain admin stuff takes the snuff out of any live show-creative time. It was time again, to take the 'singer/songwriter' hat off to be the full time administrator and  publicist.

Meanwhile, the management company is getting a good start on radio airplay on Americana stations.   

Within a week, I will take my scheduled bi-yearly time off, to a writing Oasis, to BE THE SONGWRITER again; inspired by the water, trees, birds, beauty...to write songs that I hope to inspire when I sing these songs...as writing, singing, producing bring so much Joy to my Heart...it cannot contain this Energy...this Energy is meant to share the Beauty, Love and Joy...to remind us all of the Essence of Joy WE ARE.

The day of the show had arrived! I rehearsed myself one more time, especially giving attention to the pedal effects for each song, varied with particular parts within a song itself. I had symbols of each pedal 'command' on my SET SHEET, that had the song order. 

 

It was time to Chakra Bleu to book her album release show. I decided to book the show at the historic Douglas Corner venue, which happened to be the very first place I ever played a show in Nashville. I booked it on a Thursday night at 6:00PM, which would be conducive for the music business and most people to attend after their work day, especially that this was music Showcase, rather than an ordinary gig. 

Now that the date was booked, I had postcards printed to hand out by the dozens for the show. Chakra Bleu Music/ 1746 Records also emailed out invitations the Music Biz and Publicists in Nashville; as well as sending out personal invitations to some music business associates. The time to design and personally address the invites took a lot of time, yet it is what a 'Hands-On' artist does. Social media was also part of Chakra Bleu Music / 1746 Records job. Yep, more time...

Meanwhile, it was time to put the Live Band members together. These players/singers would have to be able to learn a lot of material; in a stellar manner, and be able to prepare their homework for one rehearsal before the show. These musicians had to be able to read charts; have a good stage presence and work well/ blend well with each other.  

"Really", you say? "Only one rehearsal?!"  

I needed to readjust the music charts for the twelve songs, since the studio recording. There were some minor changes made to some instrumentals, as well as some endings of songs that, in the recorded version were 'fade outs'. In the live version, I needed to write out a concrete version of when the song would end.

The charts had to be PERFECT! Once I rewrote the live versions, I sent a CD along with the charts via mail, as well as charts via files/mp3 versions to those musicians that preferred such. Chakra Bleu was busy! 

She also had to start rehearsing herself. Wha?!! Yep, all this time, she had been wearing the 'producer' and 'administrator' hat. When she wears the producer hat, she completely is the Producer, so that she can make sharp decisions about the lead vocals, and production in general.

So, rehearsing the songs was a chore, as it felt like changing uniforms. It was a new identity that was needed to kick back in for performance mode. I also was needing to decide which electric guitar that I'd use for live performance. My G&L was great for the studio, yet didn't bite enough for a live sound, despite effect pedals. I know, this is nerdy stuff. LOL. I decided to play my Les Paul along with my Fender Pro Junior Amp. This combination along with the detailed pedal effects for each song, would sound great! I tested and retested the tones and pedal combinations. Les Paul won for the live version anyway. 

I rehearsed countless hours with and without playing my guitar. Rehearsing just my vocals alone (acappella), allowed me to concentrate on the phrasing, the crescendo's, and the minute tones of my vocals in each song. The voice is an instrument and the technical details can easily get lost behind the sound of the competing instruments. 

I checked in with all the live musicians before the rehearsal, covering various questions they had about this or that in particular songs. 

The evening of the dress rehearsal was a blast. I knew that each musician had prepared well already. As the band leader, I would run through each song front to back. I would note the problem areas and then run over that area once or twice again. I run a tight ship when it comes to rehearsal and the musicians appreciate that. We all were able to hone in on any hick-up areas, making necessary notes, for improvement and such. We all had prepared well, so that the songs could be rehearsed in a fun and timely manner. Of course we enjoyed some chilling' out time with a good brew afterward!  

 

 

Two weeks before I scheduled the meeting with the graphic artist, I needed to make very specific decisions about which templates were available for the CD's that OASIS, the manufacturer had available. There were choices of Digipaks, Zero-Carbon Footprints; Green Wallets, Jewel Cases and more. I didn't want to go for the very affordable PLASTIC jewel case: Too much plastic. I / 1746 Records had gone for the full cardboard 'Wallet' a couple albums back, yet that product wore down easily. The Jewel Case - all plastic, cracked easily when we sent CD's in the mail. So what we had decided on was the Digipak that OASIS offered. This was a highly durable board-package construction with a high quality protective (plastic) tray. Folks, My record company and I Really tried to avoid plastic, yet, the full on 'Wallet' wasn't protecting the CD enough.  Jeeze...I know this is TMI  (too much information) Lol. The decision was also made NOT to include an insert which would hold a booklet with all the lyrics. As much as I, the writer/performer/producer wants to have everyone to have the access to read the lyrics, it is just is not cost effective. The amount of folks buying CD's/LP's/Vinyl was diminishing compared to the digital sales. So the Digipak 4-panel was the template to then place the decided photos and credits upon. I sent this template to Christie/graphic artist two weeks before our meeting. This would allow her to know ahead of time what she would be able to prepare for, along with the documents I was sending. This saved us both time. Time meant money. Yet more than that: it allowed her, to spend more time relaxing into her artistry of designing...breathing and having fun creating the best product possible. No artist wants to log in time typing lyrics or credits. That's insulting. Lol.

After the graphic artist send me the proofs, I proposed very minor adjustments, mostly in the credits/script, etc. Soon thereafter, she sent the album art files to the manufacturer (OASIS Manufacturing).  

A week later the agent from OASIS contacted me after reviewing the files. There was a problem with the font being too small on the CD itself. So I contacted the graphic artist to inform her about this. The details of this were taken care of before I could give the final "OK", get the CD's/products manufactured.

Little details that were actually BIG details on the tail end all added up to decisions that had to be made, while the clock was ticking to make the deadlines work for the release of Chakra Bleu's 9th album!

 

 

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