Collaborating across multiple genres that span from rap and electronic-dance music to pop, categorizing the work of artist, songwriter and producer Willis isn't an easy undertaking. Her influences, for starters, are an eclectic smattering that that includes Elvis Costello, Ella Fitzgerald and even Michael Jackson. Moreover, her seemingly effortless combination of soul, rock and hip-hop, coupled with witty lyrics, combine to reveal a well-crafted disc that simply writing partner Oates label's her "most ambitious release to date."
In a May 28 correspondence shared with Examiner, Oates said, “Daphne has a voice that you can't deny and will blow your mind. Combine that with the fact that her new record is killer ... and what more do you want? Great playing, production, songwriting ... and, oh yeah, did I mention her voice? Yes, I did!”
Recorded in Music City, "Live To Try" was co-produced by Willis and Tim Lauer and features 13 originals. Willis had a hand in writing the all songs with Oates, who also sings and plays on the album.
"The record is blend of new-age alternative pop with some classic/vintage-soul qualities," Willis told Examiner in a May 29 exclusive interview. "I definitely spent a lot of time developing my message as an artist and 'Live to Try' is a continuation of that development.
"I am extremely honored and lucky to have the opportunity to write and work with John Oates on this record," she continued. "His talent soars above and beyond what I had even imagined. He's simply incredible as an artist and as a person and definitely takes it to that next level every time!"
Willis, who celebrated the release of her new CD with a performance at East Nashville's 5 Spot, told Examiner, "The 5 Spot is one of Nashville's classic venues, and I'm genuinely stoked to have (had) the celebration take place there! It's got some serious vibage, and that's what's it's all about!"
Known for her exuberant and compelling live performances, Willis has a full tour schedule ahead of her this summer. For all things Daphne Willis, please access her official website. Or, keep up with her via her official Facebook page.
- Video bonus: To see Willis perform "Stay" live, please access the video embedded with this post.