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Newcomer Nicole Berke to Open for the Legendary Dr. Lonnie Smith at Portland's Soul'd Out Festival Sunday, April 21 at the Star Theater
(Published: April 17, 2013)

(New York, New York, Tuesday, April 9, 2013) - Mixing jazz, pop, soul and R&B with retro nuances Nicole Berke's album THIS BRIGHT BEFORE is poised to separate her from the crowd. With her forthcoming performance opening up for Dr Lonnie Smith, hailed as one of the most creative jazz organists of all time, Berke embarks on sharing her well-crafted and distinctive style at this year's festival. Berke shares, "Having the opportunity to open up for the legendary Dr. Lonnie Smith is amazing! As a keyboardist I know his body of work well and I have always respected and admired his contribution to contemporary jazz music. I am so excited to share the stage with him; it is all still sinking in."

After spending over a year conceiving, writing and funding the album with the generous help of Kickstarter endorsements, NICOLE BERKE, 25, is positioning herself as a distinct and unique indie artist with universal appeal. With a sold-out album release show at Jimmy Mak's, the top jazz club in Portland, Berke is determined to build her recording and performing career around her uncompromising style, her personal and social reflections and narratives which speak clearly to her generation and beyond. Berke's voice is fresh with genuine power, and her songs are a well-crafted take on what soul-pop-jazz can be. Her musical compositions are sophisticated and emotionally charged with complex arrangements that fit perfectly in place; the combination is mesmerizing.

Berke's full-length album THIS BRIGHT BEFORE (KeyMedia Group/Nicole Berke Music) is the long awaited follow-up to her acclaimed debut EP FRONDESCENCE, which was released in 2008. The new record dynamically chronicles the last five years of her life which included a four month stint as the lead vocalist in a soul band at the prestigious Club Centro in the Kerry Hotel in Beijing, China. THIS BRIGHT BEFORE was produced by drummer Josh Lava and Berke and was recorded by Portland favorites Dave Friedlander, Steve Watkins and Tanner Cundy. The album also features a talented slew of local musicians: Nathaniel Daniel, Arcellus Sykes, Bill Marsh, Jarrod Lawson, Max Ribner and Mary-Sue Tobin. Hailing influences from artists such as Stevie Wonder and Erykah Badu, Berke manages to find her own voice at a time when doing so seems to be more and more challenging for young musicians. Berke plans to perform the album solo and with her band as much as possible, in as many states and countries as she can get to. Her genuine connection to audiences and her love of performing is apparent by all who see her play live; her accessibility brings the listener closer. She performs the material from THIS BRIGHT BEFORE as impressively as she records it; which is no easy task.

So far, THIS BRIGHT BEFORE is being received very well and the album just released in February 2013. Berke waited a long time between releasing FRONDESCENCE and THIS BRIGHT BEFORE and it appears the wait was well worth it. Timing is everything.


NICOLE BERKE, a Boston native, is a soulful pianist, singer and composer whose diverse musical influences and love of travel often seep into her songwriting. Berke moved to Portland in 2009 to complete a Social Psychology degree at Portland State and is currently promoting her brand new full-length album THIS BRIGHT BEFORE. The record dynamically chronicles the last five years of her life, including a four month residency fronting an R&B band at the Kerry Center Hotel in Beijing. She also teaches voice and piano at School of Rock and is an endorsed artist by the world renowned Kurzweil keyboards. Her voice is fresh with genuine power and her songs are a well-crafted take on what soul-pop-jazz can be.


More Information: https://www.nicoleberkemusic.com

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