The Book of Jonah is the new album from Nadir Omowale. It’s a blend of soul music, rock, funk and blues. While there are songs about love and relationships, themes of social and political consciousness carry through the album.
“I never felt like I had to fashion myself into one particular style. I grew up on Prince and The Time and Cameo and all that good stuff, and so funk is all deep within my soul. And I grew up in a small town in east Tennessee, so there were country music influences, there was a lot of Van Halen and rock and roll and so I love all of that music,” Nadir told Michigan Radio’s Jennifer White.
Some artists defy classification. Detroit-based rock and soul insurgent Nadir rebels against it. So true to form, Nadir’s Distorted Soul Sound Pack for producers, beat makers and DJs, arms you with a stockpile of original rock, funk, jazz and soul kits, instruments and loops for your production arsenal.
Explore the making of the Distorted Soul Sound Pack, created by funk/rock/soul producer Nadir in collaboration with BKE Technology at legendary Submerge Studios Somewhere in Detroit.
We stuffed the Distorted Soul Sound Pack with tons of crunchy rock guitars, roaring B3 organ, percolating bass, stellar post-bop saxophone riffs, and loads of live drum fills and loops. Click below to download FREE kits and samples, and take advantage of nearly 40% pre-order savings!
Since its founding in 2002, TheDetroiter.com has covered thousands of happenings and artists, and continues to be one of Detroit’s favorite sources for art and culture.
In this exclusive interview by Chariti Joi Ntuk, Nadir talks about his forthcoming album The Book of Jonah, about why Detroit is the world’s number one music city, and about why organizing artists is like herding cats.
Nadir Omowale: Diary of a Distorted Soul
Somewhere in Detroit sits an anonymous building on a nondescript block. Throughout any given day, a steady stream of conspicuously awesome people carrying guitars, keyboards, etc. flow in and out of this seemingly forgettable building on a seemingly forgotten block of a city whose demise some people seem to think is a foregone conclusion.
If music is indeed the soundtrack to life, then Detroit and more specifically, this building, is very much alive thanks to its long list of strong-winded musicians who blow life into it daily. One of the musicians you can find in this building, and who is most responsible for the city’s current musical pulse is none other than 11-time Detroit Music Award winner, Nadir Omowale.
Note from Nadir: Earlier this week I posted about the passing of bass master Donald “Duck” Dunn of Booker T and the MGs. Well, wouldn’t you know it, before the virtual ink of my blog had dried, we heard that Detroit’s own, P-Funk and Brainstorm vocalist Belita Woods also left us. The very next day we got the news that Chuck Brown, the Godfather of DC Go-Go,made his transition. UPDATED: And right after I posted this, we learned that Donna Summer passed away. What a week!
Our good friend, Bob Davis of Soul-Patrol.com, by virtue of his esteemed role as connector between artists and fans in the worlds of soul and funk, sometimes holds the unenviable position as bearer of bad news. He laments that too often his weekly Soul-Patrol newsletters function as a black music obituary column. As you could expect, this has been a trying week for him in that regard. Yet, in his late night email, he comments on these deaths with his usual eloquence and poise. I can’t say it any better, so we’ll let Bob do the talking.
There has certainly been a whole lot going on in my world and the world around me over the past week, that has absolutely nothing to do with music. I won’t bore you all with the details, but I will tell you that it has all been quite good.
All of that good stuff is somewhat tempered by all of the bad stuff that has been happening in the neighborhood of the world that Soul-Patrol lives in.
This has been one of the worst weeks that I can recall. (and the week is not yet even 1/2 over yet)
My name is Nadir, and I’m an addict. I’ve been addicted to playing music for a very long time. And being addicted to music is like being addicted to crack.
Okay. I’ll confess. I’ve never smoked crack.
But the rush of being onstage… When I’ve got the mic in my hand, and the band is killing it, I am high. At that very moment I am completely myself. Not acting or posing for the crowd, but telling my story, singing from the depths of my soul. There’s nothing like it except…
…The high of creating in the studio. When the song is strong, and the rhythm track is hot, I catch a buzz. All of a sudden I start dancing uncontrollably in the middle of the control room. I feel like I’m stoned.
I’ve had some success with the work I’ve produced for myself and other artists – awards, radio play, international tours, licensing for movies and advertising, scoring indie films and more. Each accomplishment brings new validation.
But if you’re really passionate about your music as I am, you don’t do it for the money or the acclaim. You do it because you’re addicted to the rhythm.
In his bestselling book, This is Your Brain On Music, music producer/neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin explains that the neurotransmitter dopamine is released into the pleasure centers of the brain when we listen to music we enjoy. Dopamine is most famous for its role in the brain’s pleasure and reward system. It is involved in mood regulation and coordination of movement.
According to Levitin, “When drug addicts get their drug of choice, or when compulsive gamblers win a bet – even when chocoholics get cocoa – this is the neurotransmitter that is released.”
On top of that hit of “dope”, when I’m playing music that I like, on an instrument I enjoy, with a tone that is pleasing, I begin to care, and I pay more attention. Levitin’s studies show that dopamine is released again, enhancing emotions, alertness and mood. My brain creates a neurochemical tag for every aspect of the experience to make sure I remember what this buzz feels like.
So if I’m really excited about this 16 bar verse I’m spitting, and the hook is hot, and the beat is knocking, my brain could be infused with enough dopamine to pack a Phillie blunt. If I’m truly passionate about my music, if I’m feeding on the energy of a crowded club or a packed arena, and I’m on, the high can be like taking a hit of freebase cocaine.
Okay, the science isn’t perfect, but I do know that the more I get that feeling of playing great music, the more I want to feel it. I’ve gotta have it… every day, all day, all night, if possible. I keep chasing that high, hoping for the same feeling or a better, more intense high.
And that’s why I will never quit. It’s not because the pay is great, that’s for sure. Even major label artists struggle to make ends meet. The rest of us make due with day jobs or odd jobs or, if we’re lucky, jobs playing music for a living.
Those artists who are most successful are driven like crack heads. The difference is they know how to balance the business with the buzz. They create a lifestyle that allows them to get high by playing as much music as possible, while keeping the bills paid, and (puff, puff) passing the feeling on to others who get a dopamine infusion when they hear music they enjoy.
So yes, I’m a professional musician and producer. I’m in control. But the first step to control is admitting that I’m an addict, and music is a drug that I will never quit.
Are you an addict? Do you have your high under control? Hit me up and tell me your story…
They call it “The Sounds of Albion,” but reading the list of bands set to play this year’s “Festival of the Forks” is like globetrotting.
The annual fest kicks off Friday in downtown Albion and runs through Saturday. Sixteen musical acts are booked to play four stages over the two-day event. Jazz, oldies, reggae, blues, funk, soul, tejano and the sounds of the Middle East will be performed by acts from around the Albion area and around the state.
Wrapping up the Saturday set on Center Stage is Detroit’s Nadir Omowale and his Distorted Soul, a confluence of sound on his own.
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Saturday, September 18, 2010
44th Annual Festival of the Forks
Corner of Superior and Center St.
207 S Superior St. Albion, Michigan
Nadir’s Showtime: 7:45pm
FREE ADMISSION For more info please visit: FestivalofTheForks.org
Nadir’s distorted soul music was featured at Detroit’s Comerica Park on Sept. 8 as part of the Detroit Tigers’ Detroit Music Spotlight.
This new musically based feature provides a chance for Michigan-based artists to showcase their music in front of thousands of Detroit Tigers fans.
This project combines the efforts of Detroit music scene and social media enthusiasts Tracy Lindsay and Hubert Sawyers III, along with the Detroit Tigers, to expose local music artists, while providing unique and interesting entertainment content at Comerica Park.
Nadir’s music hit a home run with baseball fans and the team as the Tigers beat their division rival Chicago White Sox 5-1.
Bee Bee White has produced Sharing It With Bee Bee for over 16 years spotlighting organizations and causes that she believes deserve more attention.
On August 14 Bee Bee took her first trip to Detroit where her tour guide, entertainment consultant Gisele Caver, showed her Berry Gordy’s mansion, Hitsville and the Heidelberg Project’s Dancing on the Street Festival. Along the way she meets Judge Craig Strong, Heidelberg Project mastermind Tyree Guyton and some dude named Nadir.
Nadir is a movement and his biggest hope is that his listeners will find their own rhythm and march beside him. Multifaceted musician Nadir says since (he) can remember, music has been an important part of (his) life.
And he has used it to inspire people to action with each lyric. To label Nadir as a neo-soul artist would be neglecting his rock roots; to call him a rock artist would be overlooking his hip-hop and jazz influences. Fully encompassing all the talents that Nadir possesses would be comparable to expanding the mathematical term Pi to its last digit.