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Bio

André Akinyele - Multi-Instrumentalist

Andre Akinyele

 

André Akinyele has defied stereotypical genres to focus on his diverse musicality, a conscious rejection of mainstream conformism.

 

Born in Richmond, California (Hilltop/El Sobrante area) on June 21, 1972, André is the pioneering force of the cyber-jazz movement of the mid-to-late 2000s with his band Gemini Soul, merging musical technology with jazz, funk, fusion, and political topical experimentation; along the lines of such artists as Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, and Meshell Ndegeocello. Performing since the age of 12 and after several run-ins with independent labels (signed as Michael Angelo in 1989 releasing a single titled "Brina Brown" in Europe) and tired of all the false promises, in 1998, André decided to go on his own right at the brink of the digital age. Known for his socially conscious musical style, André’s first five albums as Marcel found him heavily influenced by Prince. But, it wasn’t until the changing of his name, and then playing jazz that he would depart from that influence, coming into his own as Ajamu Akinyele (meaning strong warrior in the Yoruba language of Nigeria, Africa) with releases such as Supernova (2005) and, with his band Gemini Soul, The Nefertiti Xperience (2008 - Number 15 Amazon’s Hot New Releases: The Bestselling New & Future Releases Chart), and Dark Skin Babies : The Movement (2009 - Number 13 Amazon’s Hot New Releases: The Bestselling New & Future Releases Chart).

 

In 1998, he released his debut album The Diary of Marcel released on his own label Bombay Recording Company. It was promoted with the singles: “I Like It”, “A Need to Please”, “Maybe Tomorrow”, and “Strawberry Saturday”. It was a refreshing take on Old-School R&B, reminiscent of Tevin Campbell and Rahsaan Patterson. He toured the local circuit and became a true contender on the independent scene. In 2001, he released Spice: The Alternative Hip-Hop Experience to critical success garnering rave reviews and media exposure. His next two releases were 2003s Uptown : 2025 A.D. and 2004s Secret Weapon Volumes 1 & 2. His last Marcel album being released in 2004 led to the transition of playing jazz as Ajamu Akinyele, primarily a bassist and bandleader. He stated that he had nothing else to say lyrically.

 

As Ajamu Akinyele, he released 2005s Supernova and 2006s critically acclaimed Black Magic The Cyber Jazz Experience on his Pearl Jazz record label. After five successful jazz/funk/fusion albums with his band Gemini Soul, from 2005–2009, he and his band toured relentlessly in those years, performing in some of the most prestigious music and jazz venues throughout the states, even opening for the legendary Pete Escovedo (Sheila E.’s dad), and being voted as the best band in the Bay Area.

 

In 2012, as André Akinyele, he released The Potomac Syndrome. It was a return to his funk roots. The album was also a return to his Prince influenced sound, along with a nod to Lenny Kravitz. It was hailed as one of his best efforts with songs such as “Feel So Good”, “DC Love”, “Georgetown”, and the summer hit “Help Me”. The songwriting was mature and on point, as was his 2015 intimate follow-up effort Metal Skin and Ivory Birds that questioned the world where no one or nothing was off limits. Metal Skin still resonates and cements André’s status as a revolutionary human rights activist with such songs as “Middle-Class Circumstance”, “We Walked On the Moon”, “Mimicking Tenderness”, and “Cities Under the Sand.” The latter dedicated to the people of Baltimore and referencing the 2015 Baltimore Protests.

 

Continuing to record as André Akinyele, 2016 brought yet another musical change, with pristine vocal arrangements on top of an ol' skool vibe, his release of The Unauthorized Playlist used underground hip-hop, funk, and futuristic sounds to explore the madness of keeping secrets, the anger of friendship betrayal, and the rise of self-empowerment. A worthy contrast to his earlier works, the album took cues from contemporary hip-hop, R&B, and "neo-soul" visionaries, such as Pharrell Williams, Erykah Badu, and D'Angelo, to create a distinctive consciousness.

 

Now, on January 26, 2018 brings yet another musical change, André will release a new album entitled Telegram Mews inspired by Drake, Frank Ocean, and Maxwell with hints of the soul essence of Marvin Gaye. The first single "Compassion" featuring EFFIGY, released August 18, 2017 gives fans a taste of what’s to come.

 

André has developed other ventures, including his Orange River enterprise that consists of a record label, book publishing company, and film/video studios. He produced albums for Jon O’Bergh and is the bandleader, guitarist, bassist, and lead singer of the rock group Looking for Lester, working under the pseudonym Rebellion and producing the album under the name Messiah Superstar. He is also the lead singer, drum programmer, and keyboardist for the electronic synth-pop duo Lavender Lush, also working under the pseudonym Chambliss Charlie. Aside from music, he is also the owner of Akinyele Design Firm, which focuses on graphic design and visual arts. Also, he is the owner of Ajamu, Inc., a gaming and programming company, set to launch mid 2018.

 

Almost two decades into his music career, he remains a magnetic and relevant presence in the music industry. He states that “releasing this new forthcoming album [Telegram Mews] has been an emotional rollercoaster, as the industry is constantly changing, and being independent is even more challenging. I’m an artist/musician that loves making music and as long as there is an outlet, I’ll continue, but with caution!” The pop/r&b/soul singer also stated, “but for now, ‘Compassion’ begins today!”

 

 

Full Discography As:

 

Andre Akinyele

Telegram Mews (Release Date: January 26, 2018)

The Unauthorized Playlist (2016)

Metal Skin and Ivory Birds - The Remixes (2015)

Metal Skin and Ivory Birds (2015)

The Potomac Syndrome (2012)

 

Looking for Lester

Everyone Hates A Mime (2015)

* Credited as Rebellion

 

Lavender Lush

Inner Gods (2017)

* Credited as Chambliss Charlie

 

Gemini Soul

Willona's Boutique (2015)

Dark Skin Babies : The Movement (2009)

The Nefertiti Xperience (2008)

"Live" The Liquid Soul Tour (2007)

Liquid Soul (2007)

A Cyber Jazz Holiday (2005)

 

Ajamu Akinyele

Black Magic : The Cyber Jazz Experience (2006)

Supernova (2005)

 

Marcel

Secret Weapon Volumes 1 & 2 (2004)

Uptown : 2025 E.P. The Remixes (2004)

Uptown : 2025 A.D. (2003)

Spice : The Alternative Hip-Hop Experience (2001)

The Diary of Marcel (1998)

 

Michael Angelo

Brina Brown (1989)

About

Multi-instrumentalist, producer, and composer André Akinyele has recorded under the names Marcel and Ajamu Akinyele, exploring multiple music genres. He is the bandleader and bassist of the jazz/funk fusion band Gemini Soul, the vocalist and guitarist for the rock band Looking for Lester, as well as the vocalist and keyboardist for the electronic synth-pop duo Lavender Lush. He is also the co-author of the book Elliptical: The Music of Meshell Ndegeocello.

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