You might have “met” her and listened to her voice thanks to her collaborations with nothing less than Prince Fatty (“Deep Sleep“) Omar, Mungos Hi-Fi, The Last Poets or opening for and supporting the likes of Chaka Kahn, Chic & Nile Rodgers, Sister Sledge, Incognito and Aswad
Now (tomorrow to be more precise), you can finally listen to Shniece McMenamin‘s inspired and soulful voice in her solo debut Disco Deception produced by Prince Fatty and featuring covers of Tina Turner, Gwen McRea, Little Willie John, Lyn Collins and Lavern Baker.
To let you discover more about her music and inspirations, we asked Shniece to compile a playlist for us introducing the 10 songs (plus one) that influenced her debut.
1. Little Green Apples – Dennis Brown (Originally by Roger Miller)
This has always been a favourite of mine, from my first discovery of Dennis Brown, I never even knew it was a cover.
When I found out, I went searching for the original, the difference between the two, is that Dennis truly made this a new reggae song from an existing idea. This one will always be one of my favourites.
2. Children of the night – The Chosen Few (Originally by The Stylistics)
I’ve always loved the version by the stylistics and the version by the Jones Girls, and when I did a live BVs with Shirley Jones from the Jones Girls I found the reggae version. It brought a beautiful and light version of beauty to my ears & when I listen I play them side by side as all of them show their own experiences with ‘Children of the night’.
3. Let’s get it on – Ken Boothe (Originally By Marvin Gaye)
Well this is without a doubt a tune for all lovers, and hear a lovers rock version by one of my favourite artists Ken Boothe it gave a sensual lovers song a meaning in the dancehalls, something you can sway to, whine to and sing along to.
4. You Keep Me Hanging On – Ken Boothe (Originally by The Supremes)
I first heard this as a child in Caribbean community centre, where I grew up, my dad would play dominos while we would play with the other kids, this song was apart of my childhood and my family music collection. To see Ken perform this song live and meet him years later with Prince Fatty, this kind man exceeded my expectations and was such a gentle soul, now this song has more meaning than ever to me.
5. Papa Is a Rolling Stone – The Pioneers (Originally by Undisputed Truth)
I love the band Undisputed Truth, but I only knew of the temptations version until I found out it was released by Undisputed truth first. They had little success with the song, and then was given to the temptations, making it a hit. Along my quest I stumbled upon The Pioneers version, With their beautiful vocals and instrumentation it elevated the song again, giving us an idea of roots and culture with a truthful storyline.
6. Tonight is the night – Claudette Miller (Originally by Betty Wright)
This song has so much innocence to it, although Betty’s version had the same quality Claudette brought a young and angelic feel with her innocent vocal this lovers rock version turned a classic into a timeless gem.
7. Just my imagination – Dave Barker (Originally by Temptations)
Dave does an great version of Just my imagination and with that steppers feel this one is a song you can dance to and sing along too, not only because of its familiarity but his beautiful vocals and backing vocals, the original is a hard one to follow but he’s gave the song new life.
8. Don’t Let It Go to Your Head – Black Harmony (Originally by Jean Carne)
What an amazing cover, the song has a strong message behind it, and for this reason the reggae version speaks to me on a personal level. It reminds me to stay humble in all I do and say, plus it’s an awesome one to dance around the house too.
9. Ring My Bell – The Blood Sisters (originally By Anita Ward)
Well what a classic, Both version are classics, but the reggae cover was one of the first reggae songs I heard. I immediately fell in love with the electronic sound of the snare, I would try to emulate it and always sang “dooo, dooo, dooo”.
It changed the way I listened to music, and introduced me to producers that extenuate the drums in their productions, and is one of the reasons I’m thankful to be working with the genius, Prince Fatty.
10. Walk Away From Love – Bitty McLean (Originally by David Ruffin)
I love the David Ruffin version, and have always loved that high note that happens in the chorus (“breaks my heart”).
Bitty McLean does that part beautifully and this version compared to David’s is danceable and can make a heartbreak seem less daunting, and a happier time of growth.
10+1. Love Me Right – Shniece McMenamin (Originally by Lavern Baker)
Lavern Bakers strength in her performance is what made me want to do a cover of this with Fatty. She wasn’t a traditional beauty in the eyes of the Industry, but to me it stood out amongst the rest.
She had to be strong to survive the cut throat industry at the time and she inspired me to do the same. My musical journey has been filled with heavenly highs and muddy lows, but it has taught me strength and resilience to just keep pushing through, because if it’s meant to be truly nothing can stop it.