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Vivian Green to soothe Nairobi

By | October 14th 2011

She started singing at a tender age and even wrote songs for Boy II Men. Her love ballads are enthralling so make a date with her on Saturday, writes, DAVID ODONGO

American songstress Vivian Green will perform in Nairobi on Saturday 15, for the Lounge Unplugged Series sponsored by Baileys and Virgin Atlantic.

Vivian Green

The multiple Soul Train Awards nominee will be making her Nairobi debut and music lovers, be sure that Green’s hits such as Emotional Rollercoaster and Gotta Go, Gotta Leave will be part of the much anticipated show. She will be joined on stage by Kora Award winner gospel artiste, Neema and afro-fusion star, Fena.

Lounge Unplugged is a unparalleled concept that appreciates neo soul/ smooth R&B, soft jazz, acoustic soul, poetry and a little afro fusion. The world-renowned artiste will perform at the Kefit Centre opposite the Belgium Embassy along Limuru Road. Gates open at 7pm.

Experienced songwriter

Vivian Green has been in music her whole life. The Philadelphia, US, native has performed with bands for thousands of people and has written songs for Boyz II Men and sung backup for Jill Scott. With three albums out, and currently promoting her third album Beautiful Green says: "These songs are all very personal, even if they’re not all directly about me."

"I couldn’t have written for my first two albums, because I just didn’t have the experience or the wisdom at the time."

Born May 1979, Green took an interest in singing, playing the piano and songwriting at a very young age. At 13, she became a member of a female quintet called Younique. Green received her big break at the age of nineteen when she became a backup singer for Jill Scott who took her on an international tour. She signed to Columbia Records in November 2001.

Love life

Green released her debut album A Love Story in November 2002 and February 2003 in UK featuring the hit Emotional Rollercoaster.

In 2005, she appeared on Cyndi Lauper’s The Body Acoustic album on the tracks I’ll Be Your River and Sisters of Avalon. According to her website, between her first and second albums, she took a three-year hiatus. During this time she had son Jordan in 2005 with ex-fiancÈ, drummer Erik Tribbett.

She explains: "I focused on being a mother. My son’s health wasn’t so good so I took time to be with him. Which was the best because I took the time to solely tend to that and he is doing amazingly well now. Praise God."

In 2005, three years after the release of her debut album, Green released her second studio album Vivian. It featured the hit lead single Gotta Go, Gotta Leave.

In 2007, Green appeared on Guru’s album Jazzmatazz, Vol. 4, The Hip-Hop Jazz Messenger: Back to the Future on the track Fine and Free. In April 2009, she signed a three-album deal with E1 Music with the first album under the deal. Her third album titled Beautiful was released mid 2010.

The songs explore her love life from a variety of perspectives, from the youthful romanticism of somewhere to the playful insight of So Good and Better Man to the hard-won intensity of Masterpiece and Beautiful.

Speaking about her third album, Green says: "This album absolutely feels like it’s more mine than anything I’ve done before. I’ve grown a lot as a singer and as a writer and as a person. I’m more seasoned and more confident now. I’m better at knowing what I want to do. Now I allow myself to make music that I like, as opposed to music that someone else thinks I should be doing."

Co-writing with Vivian on four of Beautiful songs was her younger brother Solomon Green, a budding rapper whom she’d been urging to branch out into songwriting.

"I always felt he should diversify," she explains.

"One day I brought him to the studio to write with me and it was awesome and rewarding to watch my baby brother blossom that way. I’m really proud of him," she says.

Vivian recorded the entire album with Grammy-nominated producer Anthony Bell, a longtime friend and collaborator who made key production contributions to her first two albums, and whose extensive resume also includes work with Jazmine Sullivan, Jewel, Musiq, Raheem DeVaughn and Jill Scott.

Beautiful definitely is her biggest album so far, and Green is aware of that. From start to finish, Green expresses herself with truthful lyrics and by using her emotional voice.

"I loved the second album. I have said that, but it only pertains to "some" fans. Many fans loved it and I was happy with it. I can’t say I was thinking about that when making Beautiful."

But she is quick to add; her son influences her music in many ways.

"He inspired several songs yes, but I cant say he has inspired others specifically. Being his mother has put such a positive outlook on my life. So the happiness in the record in general is definitely related to being his mother."

Green has credit for writing Dear God by Boyz II Men, from their 1997 album Evolution.

Capital FM’s previous Lounge Unplugged Series have seen the likes of Hil st Soul and Anthony David grace the stage in Nairobi.

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