Thickwit Thursdays // Krystle Warren // vocal phenom with a guitar

Posted on March 3, 2011

Over the last month or so, I’ve gotten a lot of suggestions for artists to cover on Thickwit. Everyone thinks her hometown hero oughta get some shine. And I agree. I know I have a tendency to spotlight the geniuses I already know. Though I know a lot of devastatingly fresh women, there’s more out there that I don’t know. So, I’ll be doing my best to get a democratic, far reaching, generous cross section of girls with hips (from all over) up on the site. If I’m missing your girl, lemme know. Actually, I do miss your girl. Tell her I say hi.

Today’s feature is the first official Thickwit of 2011. This title is bestowed only upon women, or female identified practitioners of color. They are intellectual, funny, innovative and quirky. They are the women I want to be when I grow up. All of that is true about today’s feature, Krystle Warren.

Irreverent as all get out, the Kansas City native blew me away with the video below of her cover of Eleanor Rigby, recorded in 2007 in Paris, France. Best I can tell, she splits her time between the latter and New York City. Since first getting the video (via Rafael Casal), I’ve had the chance to dig and check the independent phenom’s web presence, and I’m going to go ahead and assert that she’s one of the most slept on vocalists of our time. She’s performed the world over, perhaps with more love in Europe than stateside. I’ll sidestep the Tracy Chapman comparison, since lots seem to make it, and I think it’s a bit inaccurate. If I were forced (at knife point) to draw a parallel, I’d err more on the side of Regina Belle, Brenda Russell or Anita Baker. Krystle’s voice has that sort of range, effortlessly reaching, at moments, the upper registers of alto, right on into soprano. Chapman rarely does that. And there’s some thick, molasses like, home grown tendencies in the low end that makes Krystle’s sound undeniably her own.

It’s grittier. More contemporary. So much so that she easily makes the classic Beatles tune unforgettably a Warren signature piece. Makes me wonder why Kanye, talented as he is, gets to do ALL of the halftime shows, everywhere. Shouldn’t there be a center stage spotlight, a laureate honor, or an unsigned hype feature for someone like Krystle? I think so. Cue pomp, roll circumstance.

Ladies and Gents, our first Thickwit of two thousand and eleven: Krystle Warren. Give her some love as she makes her way to the stage.

And since some habits die hard, I’ma throw in a video of Aretha Franklin singing the same tune. For the last three years, Re-Re’s version has held my heart. Since I’ve worn out Ms. Frankin’s version, I’m so glad to have a new muse singing Rigby’s plight. I hope you enjoy both. Now please excuse me while I pick up the rice in the church where the weddings have been.

For more on Krystle Warren, check out this BBC review of her last album, Circles.

And her website is housed with her label, Because Records. Krystle Warren.

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