BIOGRAPHY Tunde Olaniran was born to a socialist-activist American mother and Christian Nigerian immigrant father, living in Germany, Nigeria, and England before settling in Flint, MI for his late adolescence. The urban, folk, and soul influences he picked up in Flint melded with his mother's jazz influences, coming to a head when he decided to submit an audition videotape to the first annual Chicago Idol competition. Making it from over 1500 contestants to the final 15 (receiving props from a then-unknown Kanye West along the way), and sharing the stage with R. Kelly and Syleena Johnson, Tunde got a taste for what he would begin to pursue. That was in 2003. Now, with a journey that includes fronting a rock band with a growing fan base, recording two albums, producing and featuring vocals on various projects, Tunde finds himself with a collection of 18 original songs entitled 'Infinite Modulation.' His debut solo album, released at the end of 2006, is a rich blend of musical styles and influences, more than living up to it's title. Weird. Soulful. Old school. Catchy. Uplifting. All of these words have been used by listeners to describe Tunde's sound. One moment, a chorus of vocals soar over a sitar raga, the next, Tunde sings quietly over a spare Casio keyboard, 808, and gulping tablas. Armed with a strange, wonderful new sound, solid vocals, and commanding stage presence, Tunde is prepared to share his music with the world. -----Reviews----- The Uncommon Sense by Mike Albadore If you already know Tunde as the vocalist in local funk-rockers Taste This!, then you know what he's capable of on one level: he's a powerful, soulful singer blessed with a crystal clear tone. On his debut solo album, he applies that voice, his groovetastic production skills, and his eclectic musical taste to a genuinely impressive album that basically works within the hip-hop/modern R&B pop framework while remaining innovative and weird enough to give Missy Elliott whiplash. What's the difference between our struggling young hero and some millionaire pop star? One big difference between somebody like Tunde and the endless parade of snooze-inducing MCs and singers on the charts is a genuine fearless vulnerability to his singing that reminds me of a young Prince. He also doesn't substitute three minutes of pseudo-gospeloid yodeling over a beat for actual songwriting, unlike a terrifyingly large percentage of today's R&B singers. Speaking of the beats, Mr. Olaniran did the majority of the tracks himself, and they're propulsive enough to get my tail wagging while keeping my jaded ears happy with brain-stretching euro-flavored sonics. The only complaint I can come up with is that the album is a little bit long...and that's really not much of a complaint at all, is it? Watch out for this guy. Seriously. - (Rev.) DJ Michael A. (Michael A has been a DJ in downtown Flint for 21 years, is a veteran of both public and pirate radio, and continues to look for that Next Great Song.) ------------------------------- THE FLINT JOURNAL FIRST EDITION Sunday, October 22, 2006 By Chad Swiatecki Name: Tunde Olaniran Home Base: Flint Sounds Like: Imagine Cody Chesnutt, Jack Johnson and OutKast's Andre 3000 on a world-spanning musical journey in Prince's little red Corvette. And the Neptunes are driving. If that sounds too scattershot, the Taste This! Lead singer's ambition and emotion makes the eclectic blend work. Ravi Revisited: The track 'The Producers' is part of a small fraternity (if not the only member) of locally produced songs to feature sitars and Indian raga rhythms. The music forms the foundation of a soul/rap hybrid and draws on Olaniran's longtime love of Indian music. 'Sitars are one of my favorite instruments, and I'm always listening to classical Indian music, to the point that a friend had to tell me to cool it on playing it all the time. The first beats I ever made used sitar samples and I thought it would be good to use since Punjabi MC and Jay-Z did a song together and Truth Hurts had a song that used sitar samples, so it's been out in the mainstream somewhat.' Honest and Open: The songs on Olaniran's debut record are starkly personal and honest, whether they're autobiographical or directed at people in his life. That means there's no irony to an over-the-top song such as 'Champion,' where Olaniran's golden soprano soars and sings, 'You're a champion!' 'My friends and I joke that 'Champion' will become some kind of motivational song for the Special Olympics because it's so out there, but that's the way I felt while writing it and I'm not afraid to express that. You might see me closing my eyes when I'm singing certain songs live, because I'm putting myself out there and up on stage there's nothing you can hide behind. Some are harder to do live than others but there's no song that I absolutely wouldn't sing on stage.' Splitting Time: Olaniran's solo work let's him explore ground outside the mostly funk/hip-hop rock of Taste This!, though the singer admits it's hard to balance the two projects. Still, the band remains a priority and he always looks for ways to integrate his band members in his other work. 'There are lulls with both, but I don't focus as much on the solo stuff as I do on the band, so when we got a bunch of shows in November it was no problem. The band supports me with things like (DJ) Jimi Hendricks spinning for shows and I want to get Paul (Woolcock) doing some guitar parts for me live. I love doing both because there's some songs I just can't do with the band, but at the same time you can't duplicate the live energy on a record.'
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