It’s been a while but that doesn’t mean that we at Alphabet Bands haven’t kept our ear to the ground, listening out for great new sounds. One artist to grab our attention recently is Juan Zelada.
Juan Zelada, English singing, laid-back Spanish funkmeister. Influenced by Jerry Lee Lewis, The Beatles, Ray Charles and Billy Joel amongst others, he has already supported Amy Winehouse on tour and dropped his first EP last year.
“Smashing CD” – Paul McCartney, said while presenting Juan with his Diploma in LIPA (Liverpool institute for Performing Arts). Yes, he’s a Macca graduate but Zelada is no stage-school drammy snob, oh no, this is a guy who loves to perform and does so with enough energy to power a small city for a week.
“There’s horns, there’s keys, there’s funk and there’s groove, but mostly there’s Soul. Prised from his acoustic guitar, band-leader Juan hammers keyboards and screams like Otis Redding. The spirit of Motown is all over this show. Not the polished TV version, but the real deal. Sweaty, sexy and full of energy.” – Whatstheruckus.com
Don’t be fooled by the laidback stylings of his recorded work, Zelada is more than just the musician Jack Johnson wishes he was. His live performances are more Rocky taking on Apollo Creed than Crown Green Bowling on a Sunday afternoon. No amount of energy is left unused, sweat drips, sinews strain, veins bulge, strings are strummed, keys are pounded and the audience is compelled to move, nothing is left on stage. His band, while not quite as animated, is no less talented with the horn section in particular the icing on a particularly well made and delicious cake.
Zelada is unquestionably a Radio 2 execs’ wet dream. His music is a delightful blend of soul, blues and pop with more than enough funk thrown in to make Curtis Mayfield smile. He has a clean, crisp vocal style that 90% of native English singers would kill for and his songs are bursting with charm and warmth, if you don’t like it then it is quite possible you’re dead inside.