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Biography On Miss. Summer

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A Street Faerie.......

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"Turning, turn on into my own self at last / Out of
the white cage, out of the lady cage Turning into my own season..."
- From "Fall"

Somewhere between sea and sky, a soul is kissed by
lightning, igniting and illuminating them from all
directions. The cosmic download empowers them with
a voice that stretches from a husky purr to a piercing roar.
It gives them a boundless imagination and open access
to the complete spectrum of music.
Cree Summer is that spirit - a captivating songwriter,
singer and performer making her electrifying
solo debut on WORK Records.

The 13-song album, self-titled, is a pulsing
amalgam of emotions and styles, movin' and groovin'
from the ascending euphoria's of "Soul Sister" and
"Deliciously Down" to the electric blues of the
Lenny Kravitz duet, "Mean Sleep," and the scathing,
shit-hits-the-fan spanking of "Curious White Boy" -
all from a woman whose image of god is a
voluptuous, brown goddess with long hair and elfin ears!
Weaving words with the precision of a surgeon or the poetic
grace of a pearl stringer, Cree Summer always leaves
a vibrant impression... rockin' you like a
hurricane or a cradle. "I guess my songs are a
hybrid of the music I heard as a child and the
weird-ass way I grew up," Cree shares with earthy candor.
"All I ever wanted to do was sing.
My father had a jazz band and I remember climbing
on stage at clubs I was too young to be in."

Cree Summer was born in California, to a mother
who was a dancer, and an actor/musician father, Don Francks.
It was 1969; the hippie movement in full effect,
and Don didn't want to have a child in
Hollywood. Francks fell in love with Red Pheasant,
a Plains Cree reserve in Saskatchewan, Canada.
So he moved his family and, with his bare hands,
built them a house of mud.
Cree spent her first eight years there, later
living in a school bus, a horse stable and a
commune called the Music Church.
Her first taste of school didn't come until
the fourth grade in Toronto. Restless and
relatively independent thanks to the money she
saved from voicing cartoons since the age of 13,
Cree dropped out at 16. "I had an isolated
childhood," she admits, "but I fell in
love with music, the first of it being Pow Wow
music - traditional native Cree songs.
I had two records growing up on 'The Res':
Zoot Allures by Frank Zappa - my musical messiah
- and Motorcycle Michael by Lotti Golden.
Then I'd visit my grandmom in the summertime
and there was Aretha and Dinah Washington."

Her father encouraged her to express her
thoughts by writing in journals, which blossomed
into a love for poetry and literature.
Today, one entire high-ceilinged wall of
her home is filled with books.
"Lyrically, I'm inspired by urban fantasy/fiction,
Elf Quest comix, Sonia Sanchez, Toni Kade
Bambara, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison and
Dorothy Parker," she says.
As an example, she offers, "'Fall' was written
about a dying leaf. I was really into Walt Whitman
at the time. But I don't like to tell people
what the songs are about. I'm always open
to finding out how much deeper a song can be."

"Making this music has been such a
journey of self-discovery," she continues,
"and totally organic.
I can't say there's a theme to the record.
It's as spontaneous as my journeys." The first song
on Cree Summer is "Revelation Sunshine," the first
song Cree ever wrote (at age 19) to her first
love. "It's a fitting way to say hello," Cree says.
"I love its purity and the time it represents."
"Life Goes On" is a meditative nudge to not waste
precious time, while "Angry Boy," is a
sweet n' sour examination of an abusive man who is out
of touch with his emotions. There's the
soulful "Sweet Pain," a love song sparked
by a craving for more Al Green and Donny Hathaway
music, and "Still Heart," a stark rumination about
desperate measures people sometimes take to not be lonely.

The album was recorded in Los Angeles, New York and
Nassau, where Cree flew to work with longtime friend,
Lenny Kravitz."Lenny taught me song structure,"
she says of their working association.
"He's very persnickety and has an exquisite ear.
Lenny made me sing better, and that's a great gift."
The unique bond they share is reflected in "Miss Moon,"
the mystical song they co-wrote for longtime
friend, Lisa Bonet.

Most profound of all is "Naheo," a confirmation of
Cree's roots that throbs to a tom tom pulse
under ringing mandolins. "That was inspired by
my family.When I left my mama's house to come to LA,
I wanted to be a big star. And my father,
having left potential big stardom, said,
'Don't ever lose your Indian. Never forget
where you came from. Art is a gift and if
nobody hears it, that doesn't
make it any less of a gift.' Those words never
really meant much to me until my first band,
Subject to Change, broke up. I didn't listen
to music for a year! Then, I started writing
again and the first song was 'Smooth My Heart.'
Every now and then, life gives you a glimpse
of how good it is..."

Talk such as this and the warm vibrations one
gets from spending any time around her have
painted Cree as a spiritualist. "I don't
believe spirit is separate from life,"
she states simply. "We are spirit. I believe
that music is good medicine and I believe in truth."
In these days when airwaves and charts are
clogged with inspiration-challenged strains,
a presence like Cree's is a goddess-send.
And Ms. Summer is just joyous to have had the
opportunity to create one from the heart.
"While in Nassau, I thought, 'Here I am in the
most beautiful place in the world making music.'
I woke up every morning saying thank you.
If I was going to title my album anything,
it's about gratitude. I am so grateful for this life."
 
 

'We belong where the mystic is strong'