'Truly Enjoying Her New Chocolate Caramel Moment!'
Althea Rene is making the flute sexy and funky. She’s a striking presence with her chiseled physique and long braided hair. The soulfully inspired, sensual grooves on her new In The Moment album are distinctly urban with infusions of pop, jazz, and reggae.
The disc, her third, was released today by Chocolate Caramel Music/SoulVibe Entertainment, which is distributed nationally by Koch Entertainment. Rene collaborated on five songs for the album and produced or co-produced seven tracks. In addition to playing a variety of flutes, she added vocals, keyboards, percussion, bass and drum programming.
The album’s title cut, featuring Rene’s typically aggressive flute flourishes over a deep percussion groove, R&B beats, and hearty horns, is now garnering airplay at smooth jazz radio stations across the U.S.
In The Moment is comprised of ten songs of which two are covers. Rene does versions of Patrice Rushen’s “Number One” and Beyonce’s independent woman anthem, “Me, Myself and I.” Album highlights include the affirmative upbeat jam “I Can”; the rhythmically astute “Campari Juice,” featuring a scorching muted trumpet; “More Than You Know,” an amorous breathy Rene vocal number; and the seductive album closer, “When You’re Around.”
Chatting recently with Althea, and first noting that it had been stated that she was now making the flute both sexy and funky, I wondered just exactly how she was managing to do such a thing to her instrument?! "I just try to be me. I play and that’s how the music comes out. I’m flattered that people find my style sexy and funky. I’ve been a health/fitness nut for most of my adult life and I’m glad that people seem to appreciate it. My live shows are high-energy and fitness is required."
Your album title 'In The Moment' tells the story of living for the time that you find yourself in, but please also describe further your own thoughts on why it was entitled this? "The past is in the past and cannot be changed, the future is unknown and in God’s hands, and all we can do is live in the moment. I’ve been in the music business for a while. The most important lesson I’ve learned is that artists MUST create their own opportunities. If you sit back and wait for major record labels to notice you, you may be sitting for a while. If you wait for performance opportunities to come to you, you may be disappointed. I’ve vowed to live in the moment and to do my best to create opportunities."
If there was one track on this new album that truly encapsulated Althea Rene at her musical and lyrical finest, which one would it be? "It’s funny how the creative process works. Sometimes songs can feel labored and they can be a challenge to write. Sometimes an idea works right away. "More Than You Know" was a song that I was able to develop in a single afternoon. I love that tune. I co-wrote it with my very good friend, Al Caldwell, and it was a very simple, comfortable process. I feel that "More Than You Know" encapsulates me best. The lyrics pertain to the family and friends that are most dear to me."
Knowing that you are a Detroit, MI native and that we are based out of Berkley, MI I'm wondering just where you have recently played in and around the area ... "In February, I spent a week in Detroit. I performed for several VIP events throughout Super Bowl weekend. I’m not certain when I’ll be in Michigan again."
... and what made you choose your new hometown to be that of Houston? "I love Houston. The weather is fantastic, the economy is strong, and the people are very polite. Many factors helped influence my decision to move to Texas. In addition to the many musically-related benefits I experience because of relocating, the primary reason I moved was due to my husband. After my husband was laid-off from his job in Detroit, he was unable to find work for more than a year. He later found a great position in Houston. I have childhood buddies who moved to Houston years ago and they promised to help us make the transition. We decided to relocate."
On this album you have chosen to cover two powerful songs; one from Patrice Rushen the other by Beyonce. Why chose these two and which one turned out to be the hardest to nail down? "The toughest song of the two was definitely Patrice Rushen's "Number One." I am in the process of developing a challenging and intricate arrangement on the tune for my live shows. It should be pretty exciting."
Having played with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) for many years, what comes to mind to have been your performing highlight with them? "I’m glad that you asked me this. I really need to clear this up. I was never a member of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. I was misquoted in an interview months ago and I would like to set the record straight. I actually studied under the principal flautist of the Symphony, Clement Baron. He was a great inspiration and he passed away last year."
It's also been noted that you were once a deputy sheriff in Detroit! Did you ever arrest anyone famous ... and for what?! "No, I never arrested anyone. When I was a Deputy Sheriff, I worked as a Jailer in the County Court House. My responsibility was primarily to look after inmates and insure the safety of the people who entered the courtroom. Becoming a Deputy Sheriff was a means to an end. Although I didn’t like my job, my experience as a law enforcement officer taught me many things about human nature and self-defense. I took a leap of faith to leave my job to pursue a full-time music career."
What '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop song would you love to cover today if asked ... and why?! "It would be "Here Comes the Rain Again" by the Eurythmics. Annie Lennox had her own bad-girl style that I loved."
Lastly, I like Penguins ... do you?! "I am an animal lover. Before I began a professional career as a musician, I actually had an interest in veterinary medicine. When I was in high school, our family vet prevented me from seriously considering it as a career option. He discouraged it. He told me that working as a vet is very demanding and I would have no time to perform. He claimed that I would have to choose between the flute and animals. Although I chose not to pursue a career in animal medicine, I am addicted to the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet. I find wild animals of all types interesting."
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
If you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Althea's brand new CD, just answer this easy question: After having studied under the principal flautist of the Detroit Symphony, Clement Baron, Rene went on to study classical music at which University.
Send me your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these great new and AUTOGRAPHED CDs! Just send us an e:mail here before May 15th with your answer and the subject title 'ALTHEA RENE SIGNED CDs' to: email@example.com
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