"I actually saw Kenny in a dream," Darcell said of musician Kenneth Williams.
A Sixth Sense?As the story goes, by the time Williams answered an ad in Miami, Florida, for musicians to audition for Darcell's band, Darcell already knew who he was, despite having never met him before in the waking world. "I walked in and saw him and said 'Oh my God, that's the guy from my dream,' " Darcell said. "It was like destiny."
"I didn't know what to think," Williams said about his reaction when Darcell told him she had dreamed about meeting him. "She said she had saw me before and I was trying to think what gig," he said, laughing.
Williams not only went on to join Darcell's band as its bassist, but also serves as her band director, as well. He, along with a group of international musicians, went on to assist Darcell in recording her sophomore album, Soul Eclectic, which was just released in late-August, 2006.
"7 Seas"As the title implies, the album is soulful, but also sonically eclectic. It incorporates World, Latin and other musical styles. One of the standout songs is the sensual "7 Seas," which judging by the tone and lyrics, many people interpret to be about lovemaking:
"Like the 7 seas crashing into me, your love is shaping me, oh your love is like the 7 seas flowing over me, your love is taking me. Your love is like the 7 seas," she sings.
But despite the strongly suggestive lyrics, Darcell insists the song isn't about making love. "I was standing alone on South Beach," she explains of how she came up with the song. "I was in the water and had my little writing pad. I stood there and was watching the waves and said 'love is kind of like the seas. It washes everything it comes in contact with. A lot of people think that song's about sex, but it's not."
As of the time this article was posted (Oct. 31, 2006) Darcell was preparing to shoot a video for "7 Seas" in the Bahamas. Then in March 2007, she and her band will go out on an international tour. "We've got a real strong interest in the U.K.," Darcell said.
Musical InfluencesAlthough Darcell's a fairly young woman, her style of music is mature beyond her years. Soul Eclectic songs like "7 Seas," "Someday Someone" and Senor Alvarez" are examples of some of her sophisticated material, which eschews Hip-Hop in favor of other influences. There's a simple reason for Darcell's sophisticated sound, she explains:
"My grandmother exposed me to Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Dorothy Dandridge. The older singers have always appealed to me. Jazz singers have always appealed to me."
As far as Williams, he said his musical influences vary greatly. Among the artists he counts as influences are jazz great Thelonious Monk, R&B legend Stevie Wonder, old-school Soul group the Isley Brothers and rock god Jimi Hendrix.
But although he's now an accomplished bassist, the bass guitar wasn't Williams's first instrument:
"I started off playing drums before I could walk," Williams said. "I switched to bass at the age of 7 or 8. Basically because it was affordable. My parents didn't want to get a full drum kit."
Williams has musicians in his family (most notably his uncle, blues player Matt "Guitar" Murphy), Darcell's the only member of her family to pursue a career in music. Despite this, ever since she was little, she said, she knew she wanted to be a performer.
"I was watching an old movie, I was watching "Sparkle," I was about 9 years old. I fell in love with Irene Cara (who played the title character in the 1976 movie about a fiction R&B girl group). "I was like, 'I wanna be just like her,' " Darcell said.
Staying True, Keeping It RealBut although she writes songs and sings, one thing she said she never planned on was actually producing her own songs.
"I never really wanted to get into production," she revealed. "But people were trying to make me into a Hip-Hop artist, or Mary J. Blige and that's not me. I have to be true to myself. So now I produce. And that's okay."
When asked about why they prefer their eclectic brand of R&B and Soul music, both Darcell and Williams said they feel it's more genuine.
"It's real music," Williams said. "Hip-Hop is great, but this is more of a musician's idea of what they'd prefer to perform live. It's not a lot of trickery. No matter what fad, whatever music comes along, it all comes back to real music."