In her 10th year as a professional recording artist and after releasing her third album during the 2020 pandemic shutdown, Tracye Eileen had an epiphany about her career and future as an artist. Despite enjoying much success with her third album "It's Time." charting on several major music charts in the U.S. and abroad, being played in 67 countries and on over 220 radio stations, she decided to return to her roots and first love as a traditional jazz artist, singing songbook standards, with an occasional R&B ballad and a touch of blues. These songs are being performed with her exceptional trio of straight-ahead musicians. Her father, a noted jazz drummer laid the foundation for early interest in Jazz leading to her being lead singer in both her high schools and University Jazz Bands. Eileen is currently working on her new project of Songbook Standards, showcasing her unique style and sultry vocals, set for release in 2022.
Prior to the release of her “It’s Time.” EP, Eileen never could have anticipated having to push the project’s release date back because of a global pandemic. The set of intimate love songs that she wrote, eager to share with the world, dropped June 12, 2020 and rose to global acclaim with the single "Now That We're Here" reaching #2 on the UK Soul Chart and hit #67 on the SmoothJazz.com Top 100 Album Chart! Eileen had been meticulously planning and preparing to take her music career to a new level. A slight delay in the release of her third recording didn't to stop her.
“It took a while to bring this project and my career to where I’m ready to move to the next level. My dream and goal have always been to be an internationally known jazz artist. It’s time now for that transition to happen. It’s time for all these projects to come to fruition,” said Eileen, who began introducing music from “It’s Time.” to fans via Facebook and Instagram Live on what she calls “Meet Me In My Parlor: A Musical Interlude with Tracye Eileen.” Subsequent episodes aired weekly through the pandemic lockdown and several months into 2021.
Eileen linked up with producer-songwriter Kendall Duffie in his Nashville recording studio, crafting an EP that delivers a sophisticated blend of soothing soul and sensual R&B grooves.
“I co-wrote the new songs with Kendall and it was pretty ironic that what he came up with was in line with my thoughts and emotions, expressing how I feel. I think the music composition flowed well with the sentiment of each song,” said Eileen about the disc that opens with the first radio single.
“‘Somehow Someway’ felt so soothing to me. I had taken a solo vacation to Belize and I remember being in a hammock, swinging over the ocean, listening to the instrumental track over and over and having the lyrics just come to me. ‘Somehow Someway’ describes a relationship that says, ‘You’ve got to find your way to me somehow someway’ and the experience of what that’s going to feel like being in that relationship.”
“No matter what the mood or storyline dictates, Eileen possesses confidence in her vocals, songwriting and video presence to reach those career goals for which she strives.”
Eileen acknowledges that the songs on “It’s Time.” are about her romantic life. “The three new songs are aspirational. Now it’s time. I’ve done a lot of work on myself and now I’m ready for the type of love that I want in my life.”
Cruising on a midtempo groove with a soulful sax caress from Donald Hayes, “Now That We’re Here” is about committing to the relationship. Eileen’s jazz vocal roots are evident on the rousing “Sweeter With Time,” a tune about how love grows, anchored by a deft drum and bass rhythm track played by Terry Baker and Simeon Baker respectively.
The EP closes with two versions – including a house mix - of the first song Eileen ever wrote, “Why Did I Say Yes,” the title cut of her 2018 album.
“The special feature of Tracye's performance is not only her voice but also the ingenious use of her vocals in the arrangement, for which she constantly finds new approaches.”
-Smooth Jazz Daily
“I started my professional music career after I got divorced, deciding to invest in myself and life long passion, and released my first jazz album, ‘Love’s Journey’ (2012). I decided to be self-revealing because I want my music to be authentic and real, songs that people could connect with. I’ve had both men and women connect with ‘Why Did I Say Yes,’ which I wrote with my former longtime keyboardist, Tom Viatsas. It’s about being in a relationship that you know is not good for you, but you’re in love. When you finally make your way out of it, maybe you run into the person again and you find yourself right back to where you started. Eventually, you make a choice for yourself. You choose you and you choose to operate and stay on a higher plane. The song comes from a very positive place of growth and change.”
While Eileen didn’t set out to write a theme EP where all the songs are connected, it happened organically.
“I didn’t recognize how connected the songs were until I started thinking about an EP title. ‘It’s Time.’ came to me in addition to how the songs tie together and why. I knew I wanted to write about a love that I wanted in my life having grown from my past experiences, but I didn’t plan for the songs to flow in a sequence the way they do naturally.”
Eileen’s monthly residency with her five-piece band at Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago resumed post-pandemic in late 2021 Over the years, she’s opened for Babyface, The Stylistics, Mary Wilson, Chante Moore, After 7 and Buddy Guy himself. Listen and Enjoy!
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