Mutlu

"I guess I'd call it my own personal brand of global pop music," Mutlu says of his new Dream Book EP.

Indeed, the five-song release finds the charismatic singer-songwriter-guitarist delivering distinctive, personally-charged music that's effortlessly contemporary, yet deeply connected with R&B and soul traditions as well as a broad range of cross-cultural stylistic influences.

A Philadelphia native and first-generation American of Turkish descent, Mutlu has already built a substantial fan base in his hometown, while winning widespread praise for his prior releases. He's also collaborated and toured with Daryl Hall & John Oates, and gained considerable attention for his work with noted singer-songwriter Amos Lee, with whom he's toured extensively as a support act and backup vocalist. He's also shared stages with the likes of Joe Jackson, Adele, Eric Hutchinson, Katy Perry, John Hiatt, Leon Russell, the Blind Boys of Alabama, and G. Love and Special Sauce amongst others.

Mutlu brings a wealth of musical and life experience to Dream Book. In addition to being the first product of his current collaboration with the distinguished production/songwriting team of Rob Hyman, Rick Chertoff and David Forman, Dream Book showcases Mutlu's multiple strengths as a sublimely soulful singer, a uniquely expressive songwriter, and a guitarist of taste and imagination.

The artist, born Mutlu Onaral, grew up steeped in Philadelphia's deep R&B traditions, eagerly absorbing the fundamentals of old-school soul music and incorporating it into his own musical persona. His local success led to a recording deal with Manhattan/EMI Records, which released his acclaimed 2008 debut album Livin' It, produced by the late, great T-Bone Wolk, and featuring guest appearances by Daryl Hall, Amos Lee, G. Love and Raheem DeVaughn.

On Dream Book, such memorable new numbers as "One Life With You," "You Should Be Happy," "Türkiye" and "Mutlu In America" once again reflect the artist's second-nature grasp of R&B, while simultaneously exploring the musical and cultural influences that he absorbed growing up in a Turkish family.

"Growing up in Philly, I was always exposed to a lot of great R&B and soul music, and that was the music that had the deepest impact on me when I started writing songs and performing," Mutlu explains. "But hip-hop, reggae, folk music and various world sounds also had a significant influence on me at different times, and I can hear all of those influences in the music I make. On Dream Book, we tried to meld together a range of different influences, and still make it personal and somewhat autobiographical at the same time."

Dream Book also marks the first time that Mutlu has made a conscious effort to integrate his own cultural background into his music, giving the music an added level of personal resonance.

"I was exposed to a lot of Turkish music from a young age, but when I was younger I didn't realize that growing up between two very different cultures had a major influence on me," he explains. "The most conscious aspect of this record was to bring in some of the Turkish melodies, which have always been second-nature to me, into the songwriting and production approach. It was also important for us to bring more of that cross-cultural vibe into the lyrics and help to convey my background in a more in-depth way than I previously had.

"I've covered a few Turkish songs throughout my career, but that influence never truly took shape in my own songwriting and record-making until this EP. Rob Hyman, Rick Chertoff and David Forman inspired me to bring out more of that influence, musically, conceptually and lyrically, and that became an integral part of this set of songs."

Having achieved a new level of musical expression on Dream Book, Mutlu looks forward to working further with his new production team to continue to develop his current direction.

"My goal is to be a true catalog artist, and build an international fan base that will stay with me album after album and tour after tour," he states, adding, "I've had the opportunity to have so many great experiences, and I've made fans and learned so much.

"My greatest challenge now," he concludes, "is to transition into being a headliner in my own right, and to cultivate my own scene and my own community. I feel that, with Dream Book, we've laid the groundwork for me to truly establish my own sound and style, and to make a true, transcendent connection with people."

Boston's Jesse Dee is a singing, songwriting, guitar-playing soul man-a modern day trailblazer inspired by the old school. Dee's passion is exploring and updating soul music for contemporary audiences. With his warm and honest sound, his instantly memorable melodies and positive, slice-of-life lyrics (evoking the heyday of the Brill Building songwriters), he accomplishes just that. His inventive, hook-filled songs are delivered with buoyant, youthful exuberance. Live, he always brings down the house, and keeps his ever-growing fan base coming back for more. His band lays down driving, infectious grooves while Dee's expressive vocals put him in a class by himself. On the strength of his fervent live shows, Dee plays to packed clubs in New England and has toured across Europe, earning new fans at every gig. The Boston Herald declares, "Dee has an explosive voice. He possesses a powerful, raspy tenor and an uncanny phrasing ability that can't be taught."

Dee won the 2010 Boston Phoenix Music Poll Award for Best R&B Act, both for the strength of his live show and the aftershocks of his 2008 debut CD, Bittersweet Batch (7Not Records/Munich Records). With his new album, ON MY MIND / IN MY HEART, his first for Alligator Records, Dee is now poised to break into the minds and hearts of music lovers across the country and around the world. The album, eleven original songs produced by Dee and Jack Younger, is a sweet soul masterpiece full of good vibes and funky, joyful music. Like Sam Cooke, Dee writes about real life with true emotional poetry. His lyrics are set to toe-tapping melodies with horn charts channeling The Memphis Horns and 1970s-era Van Morrison.

Much like an artist painting on canvas (another of his talents), Dee crafts his songs in layers, oftentimes starting with a melody and lyrics, then carefully adding guitar riffs, horn blasts, vocal inflections, or any number of other colors from his musical palette. He fills his songs with a wide variety of textures, allowing listeners to visualize the images he paints with his words. "I'm a music fan first," Dee says, "so it's important to me to seek out and create with original ideas. That's why songwriting is so important, and why I mean every word I write and sing."

Born in 1980 in Boston, MA, Dee grew up in nearby Arlington. He got his first taste of soul music from local oldies radio station WODS when he was eight years old. As a child, he was drawn to the sounds of The Drifters, The Shirelles, Smokey Robinson, Sam Cooke and other doo wop, Motown and R&B greats. He always loved singing, and would often record made-up tunes into his tape recorder. He sang in school theatre productions and church choir, and was writing songs by his mid-teens. Dee began fronting a band soon after, but didn't pick up his first guitar until he was 18. With help from his musically inclined father and The Bob Dylan Six-Chord Songbook, he taught himself the instrument well enough to start performing as a solo artist a year later. During this period, Jesse immersed himself in the music of Otis Redding, Jackie Wilson, Solomon Burke, Etta James, James Brown and all the deep soul masters, listening, learning, writing and continuing to hone his craft by playing live every chance he could get.

Dee attended Massachusetts College Of Art And Design, studying illustration, performance, production, mixed-media and composition. He sang with the ten-piece ensemble Decifunk, and toured up and down the East Coast. In the early 2000's he even lent his voice to rock 'n' roll band The Dirty Whites before starting his own group. He released his first album, Bittersweet Batch, in 2008, and heads immediately began turning. The New York Daily News awarded the CD a rare four-star review, saying, "I am blown away by what's coming out of my speakers...remarkable...there isn't a bad song to be found...upbeat and soulful."

The success of the CD allowed Dee and his band to travel beyond Boston, making new converts in Washington, DC, New York, Philadelphia, Nashville, and Chicago. He first toured the Netherlands, the UK and Italy in 2009 before heading back again the following two years, this time adding Ireland, Belgium, Germany, France and Spain to his itinerary. Dee has opened for soul greats Al Green, Solomon Burke, Etta James, Bettye LaVette, and blues rockers Los Lobos and the J. Geils Band, and has shared stages many times with fellow soul singer James Hunter.

Dee is ready to set the world on fire. He will tour widely, bringing his modern, fun and timeless music to clubs, concert halls and festivals all over the world. Dee is proud of the songs on ON MY MIND / IN MY HEART, saying the music is a perfect representation of where he is as an artist. "Soul music is capable of touching the greatest and most diverse group of people," Dee says. "All the best soul music is based on shared experience. Songs have the ability to affect people, shine a light, lift them up, and push them forward. There's hope in these songs," he continues, "and people need that now more than ever."

$17.00

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Mutlu with Jesse Dee

Friday, October 18 · Doors 6:30 PM / Show 8:00 PM at World Cafe Live Philadelphia