artist activist writer motivator

'If art is to nourish the root of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him.' -
John Fitzgerald Kennedy

You have to feel something about what you're saying if you want anyone else to buy into it, explains Vivian Sessoms with absolute certainty. It's important to me to mean what I say when I'm writing or singing a song. It can't simply be just a collection of words. For Vivian, a life surrounded by music has ingrained the passion and the power of music in her. Born and raised in Harlem, Vivian, whose mother was a session/jingle-singer, and father who was a flautist/percussionist (for James Brown among others), learned the wonder and the craft of music at a young age.

In a neighborhood filled with nightclubs, churches and impromptu gatherings-turned-jam-sessions at the family homestead, she was already singing by the time she could talk. "Growing up, there always seemed to be music playing in our house. I was so immersed in it, that I guess I viewed music as a kind of backdrop to my life", she recalls. By the time she was nine, Vivian had begun doing television and radio voice overs. With the help of a casting agent Mikki Powell (The Wiz), she made the rounds of auditions for various Broadway shows, all while receiving classical training in voice and piano. Somewhere around the age of 16, Vivian began composing her own music, following in the footsteps of her musician parents.

A few years later, while on one of her first major tours, performing with pianist/composer Ryuichi Sakamoto (whose film credits include  Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, Little Buddha, High Heels), Vivian had her eyes and ears opened to an entirely new world of sound and became galvanized. Sakamoto taught Vivian much about song-craft, performance and musicianship. She absorbed as much as she could from the brilliance of his artistry. In Sakamoto's band, she found herself surrounded by accomplished, seasoned musicians such as drummer Manu Katche (Peter Gabriel, Sting), Victor Bailey (Weather Report, Madonna) and Darryl Jones (Miles Davis, Rolling Stones). Sakamoto expected her to behave on par with those musicians, placing her in the spotlight as a featured vocalist, and teaching her to sing in Japanese. She in turn pushed herself tirelessly towards perfection as both a singer and performer.

Several years of resume building followed, with Vivian performing, either live or in the studio, with an amazing array of artists including: P. Diddy, Michael Jackson, Donna Summer, Sinead O Connor, and Stevie Wonder to name a small few. She did a stint with Virgin Music Publishing and then signed on as an artist and staff writer with K.G. of Naughty By Nature for his Divine Mill imprint, though an album was never released. She even went on to write and perform as a guest artist on a number of Sakamotos' later releases, but unlike with Sakamoto, none of these situations would influence her the way future partner Chris Parks would.

Chris and Vivian met during a recording session he was producing, where Vivian was again hired as a guest vocalist. Though things were touch and go in the beginning, the pair began recommending one another to other artists in their respective circles. This, in turn, created repeated scenarios for Vivian and Chris to work together often, eventually discovering that in addition to their mutual respect for one another's talents, they made a formidable team. Where as Sakamotos' influence on Vivian had been more of a mentorship, Chris was that of an equal, the two forging a partnership in the truest sense of the word. Combining their talents to write songs for other artists, the pair stumbled upon this chemistry almost by accident, "It was like being hammered over the head" explains Vivian when recalling their pairing, "I realized I had found a kind of kindred spirit in Chris." That was the beginning of their joint production company Red Music, that has since gonewritten, produced or remixed songs for a number of well known artists.

At a music exec's suggestion, while re-recording songs they had originally written for another artist, Chris, Vivian and a few of the players on the demo's began reshaping tunes and writing new material. They instantly realized they had stumbled onto something exciting, thus forming the group Albright (so named for Vivian's maternal grandmother). The end result was Sunny One Day, an album recorded over the course of three years at their Suprdupr Sound Studio in Brooklyn. Striving to make the album an entity unto itself, a complete body of work, and not just a collection of songs, the pair took their time fine-tuning until they were satisfied. A unique mixture of soul, jazz, & rock, coupled with distinctive melodies and lush instrumentation, the duo succeeded where many artists today fall short, in creating music that has instant familiarity and warmth. If there's any truth to Vivian's credo that you have to truly believe in what you're saying before anyone else can, and be willing to stand behind it with passion, then she's already won the battle with "Sunny One Day". 

Following the debut project, after a lengthy hiatus is the highly anticipated follow up, LIFE. An altogether different project in tone and feel, LIFE in many ways, seems to pick up where Sunny One Day left off, in that too explores themes of love and loss. It moves deftly between genres without skipping a beat, but with this new collection Sessoms tackles the age old dilemma in jazz, that of finding fresh ways to present the standard. She does so, by mining the pop genre, turning unexpected radio favorites into more mature explorations, thereby expanding the genre. With LIFE, we are treated to arrangements of newer compositions one would not ordinarily expect to hear on a jazz record, including a few penned by the artist herself. But it's what she does with songs we do know, where she and partner Parks' arranging and production skills really shine. Keeping arrangements simple but beautifully so, with performances ranging from subtly nuanced to gospel shouts by Vivian, and boasting guest appearances by some of the most sought after musicians in jazz today, makes for an album well worth the wait!

'If art is to nourish the root of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him.' John Fitzgerald Kennedy - United States President

You have to believe in, or feel something about what you're saying if you want anyone else to buy into it, explains Vivian Sessoms with absolute certainty. It's important to me to mean what I say when I'm writing or singing about something. It can't simply be just a collection of words. For Vivian, a life surrounded by music have ingrained the passion and the power of music in her. Born and raised in Harlem, Vivian, whose mother was a session/jingle-singer, and whose father was a flautist/percussionist (who's played with the likes of James Brown), learned the wonder of music at a young age.

Surrounded by nightclubs, churches and regular jam sessions at her family's home, she was already singing by the time she could talk. Growing up, there was always music to express the way I was feeling. I was so immersed in it, that I kind of viewed music as a kind of backdrop to my life, she recalls. By the time she was nine, Vivian had begun work doing television and radio voice overs. With the help of an agent, she had made the rounds of auditions for various Broadway plays, all while classically training her voice and her skills as a pianist. Around the age of 16, Vivian began composing her own songs, following in the footsteps of her musician parents.

Years later, while on one of her first major tours, performing with pianist/composer Ryuichi Sakamoto (whose film credits include the score for Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, Little Buddha, High Heels), Vivian had her eyes and ears opened to an entirely new world of sound and became galvanized. Sakamoto taught Vivian much about song-craft, performance and musicianship. She absorbed as much as she could from the brilliance of his artistry. In Sakamoto's band, she found herself surrounded by accomplished, seasoned musicians such as drummer Manu Katche (Peter Gabriel, Sting), Victor Bailey (Weather Report, Madonna) and Darryl Jones (Miles Davis, Rolling Stones). Sakamoto expected her to behave on par with those musicians, placing her in the spotlight as a featured vocalist, and teaching her to sing in Japanese. She in turn pushed herself tirelessly towards perfection as both a singer and performer.

Several years of resume building followed, with Vivian performing, either live or in the studio, with an amazing array of artists including: P. Diddy, Michael Jackson, Donna Summer, Sinead O Connor, and Stevie Wonder to name a small few. She did a stint with Virgin Music Publishing and then signed on as an artist and staff writer with K.G. of Naughty By Nature, though an album was never released. She even went on to write and perform as a guest artist on a number of Sakamoto's later releases, but unlike with Sakamoto, none of these situations would touch her the way future partner Chris Parks would.

Chris and Vivian met during a recording session he was producing, where Vivian was again hired as a guest vocalist. Though things were touch and go in the beginning, the pair began recommending one another to other artists in their respective circles. This, in turn, created repeated scenarios for Vivian and Chris to work together numerous times, eventually discovering that in addition to their mutual respect for one another's talents, they made a formidable team. Whereas Sakamoto's influence on Vivian had been more of a mentorship, Chris was that of an equal, the two forging a partnership in the truest sense of the word. Combining their talents to write songs for other artists, the pair stumbled upon this chemistry almost by accident, "It was like being hammered over the head" explains Vivian when recalling their pairing, "I realized I had finally found my niche with Chris." That was the beginning of their joint production company "Black Cherri" that has since written, produced or remixed songs for a number of well known artists.

At a music exec's suggestion, while re-recording songs they had originally written for another artist, Chris, Vivian and a few of the players on the demo's began reshaping tunes and writing new material. They instantly realized they had stumbled onto something exciting, thus forming the group Albright (so named for Vivian's maternal grandmother). The end result is "Sunny One Day", an album recorded over the course of three years at their Suprdupr Sound Studio in Brooklyn. Striving to make the album an entity unto itself, a complete body of work, and not just a collection of songs, the pair took their time fine-tuning until they were satisfied. A unique mixture of soul & jazz, tinged with rock and coupled with beautiful melodies and lush instrumentation, the duo succeeds where many other artists fail, in creating music that has instant familiarity and warmth. If there's any truth to Vivian's credo that you have to truly believe in what you are saying before anyone else can, and be willing to present a well-thought out idea and stand behind it with passion, then she's already won the battle with the debut "Sunny One Day".

- See more at: http://ats.albrightmusic.com/bio/#sthash.SxVjtjYK.dpuf

'If art is to nourish the root of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him.' John Fitzgerald Kennedy - United States President

You have to believe in, or feel something about what you're saying if you want anyone else to buy into it, explains Vivian Sessoms with absolute certainty. It's important to me to mean what I say when I'm writing or singing about something. It can't simply be just a collection of words. For Vivian, a life surrounded by music have ingrained the passion and the power of music in her. Born and raised in Harlem, Vivian, whose mother was a session/jingle-singer, and whose father was a flautist/percussionist (who's played with the likes of James Brown), learned the wonder of music at a young age.

Surrounded by nightclubs, churches and regular jam sessions at her family's home, she was already singing by the time she could talk. Growing up, there was always music to express the way I was feeling. I was so immersed in it, that I kind of viewed music as a kind of backdrop to my life, she recalls. By the time she was nine, Vivian had begun work doing television and radio voice overs. With the help of an agent, she had made the rounds of auditions for various Broadway plays, all while classically training her voice and her skills as a pianist. Around the age of 16, Vivian began composing her own songs, following in the footsteps of her musician parents.

Years later, while on one of her first major tours, performing with pianist/composer Ryuichi Sakamoto (whose film credits include the score for Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence, Little Buddha, High Heels), Vivian had her eyes and ears opened to an entirely new world of sound and became galvanized. Sakamoto taught Vivian much about song-craft, performance and musicianship. She absorbed as much as she could from the brilliance of his artistry. In Sakamoto's band, she found herself surrounded by accomplished, seasoned musicians such as drummer Manu Katche (Peter Gabriel, Sting), Victor Bailey (Weather Report, Madonna) and Darryl Jones (Miles Davis, Rolling Stones). Sakamoto expected her to behave on par with those musicians, placing her in the spotlight as a featured vocalist, and teaching her to sing in Japanese. She in turn pushed herself tirelessly towards perfection as both a singer and performer.

Several years of resume building followed, with Vivian performing, either live or in the studio, with an amazing array of artists including: P. Diddy, Michael Jackson, Donna Summer, Sinead O Connor, and Stevie Wonder to name a small few. She did a stint with Virgin Music Publishing and then signed on as an artist and staff writer with K.G. of Naughty By Nature, though an album was never released. She even went on to write and perform as a guest artist on a number of Sakamoto's later releases, but unlike with Sakamoto, none of these situations would touch her the way future partner Chris Parks would.

Chris and Vivian met during a recording session he was producing, where Vivian was again hired as a guest vocalist. Though things were touch and go in the beginning, the pair began recommending one another to other artists in their respective circles. This, in turn, created repeated scenarios for Vivian and Chris to work together numerous times, eventually discovering that in addition to their mutual respect for one another's talents, they made a formidable team. Whereas Sakamoto's influence on Vivian had been more of a mentorship, Chris was that of an equal, the two forging a partnership in the truest sense of the word. Combining their talents to write songs for other artists, the pair stumbled upon this chemistry almost by accident, "It was like being hammered over the head" explains Vivian when recalling their pairing, "I realized I had finally found my niche with Chris." That was the beginning of their joint production company "Black Cherri" that has since written, produced or remixed songs for a number of well known artists.

At a music exec's suggestion, while re-recording songs they had originally written for another artist, Chris, Vivian and a few of the players on the demo's began reshaping tunes and writing new material. They instantly realized they had stumbled onto something exciting, thus forming the group Albright (so named for Vivian's maternal grandmother). The end result is "Sunny One Day", an album recorded over the course of three years at their Suprdupr Sound Studio in Brooklyn. Striving to make the album an entity unto itself, a complete body of work, and not just a collection of songs, the pair took their time fine-tuning until they were satisfied. A unique mixture of soul & jazz, tinged with rock and coupled with beautiful melodies and lush instrumentation, the duo succeeds where many other artists fail, in creating music that has instant familiarity and warmth. If there's any truth to Vivian's credo that you have to truly believe in what you are saying before anyone else can, and be willing to present a well-thought out idea and stand behind it with passion, then she's already won the battle with the debut "Sunny One Day".

- See more at: http://ats.albrightmusic.com/bio/#sthash.SxVjtjYK.dpuf

JINGLES

Adidas 
Afrosheen 
Aluminum
As Told By Ginger Theme 
Bic 
Burger King 
Calvin Klein 
Campbells Soup 
Coke 
Dark & Lovely 
Dennis Rodman 
MTV Series 
Ertle Car Dealers 
HotJobs.com 
Hersheys 
Hyatt 
IRS 
Keri Lotion 
Kotex 
L'Oreal 
Michelob 
M&M's 
NJ Nets Theme 
Office 
Max 
Pillsbury 
Planned Parenthood 
Scotch Tape
Thomas's English Muffins 
Walt Disney 
Theme 
Wendy's 
Zurich Insurance

APPEARANCES

NATIONAL
Cielo (NY)
SOB's (NY)
Smoke (NY)
Joe's Pub (NY)
Feinsteins (NY)
Kitano Jazz (NY)
Cafe Carlyle (NY)
Billie's Black (NY)
The Bluenote (NY)
St. Nicks Pub (NY)
The Lambs Club (NY)
Solomon's Porch (NY)
The Harlem Grille (NY)
The Cutting Room (NY)
The Lenox Lounge (NY)
The Jazz Standard  (NY)
Rockwood Music Hall (NY)
The Village Underground (NY)
Saint Peters Jazz Vespers (NY)
Brooklyn Academy Of Music (NY)
The Appel Room - Lincoln Center (NY)
Emmnual Bapt Ch Jazz Vespers (NY)
Lafayette Pres Ch Jazz Vespers (NY)
NJPAC (NJ)
SOPAC (NJ)
New Brunswick Jazz Project (NJ)
Cooper River Park Concert Series (NJ)
Blues Alley (DC)
Regattabar (Boston)
Chris Jazz Cafe (PA)
Philadelphia Museum Of Art (PA)
MOCA (Miami)
The Arts Garage (Miami)
WDNA Jazz Gallery (Miami)
International Jazz Day (Miami)
So Miami Dade Cult Center (Miami)
Sheldon Concert Hall (STL)
The Whitaker Festival (STL)
The Krantzberg Theatre (STL)
Sound Bites (Sedona AZ)
MIM Theatre (Phoenix AZ)
Vitello's (CA)
Spaghettini's (CA)

INTERNATIONAL
Club FACE (Moscow)
Divadlo Arena (Slovakia)
Trnava Jazz Fest (Slovakia)
BA City Beats Jazz Fest (Slovakia)
Music Gallery Nightclub (Slovakia)
Buddokhan (Japan)
Klagenfurt (Austria)
Fasching (Sweden)
Stockholm Jazz Festival (Sweden)
The Vatican (Rome)
The Olympics (Spain)
The Worlds Fair (Spain)
Red Cross Gala (Monte Carlo)
The Sporting Festival (Monte Carlo)
Carnivale Di Venezia (Venice)
Zuri Fascht (Switzerland)
Street Parade (Switzerland)
Supermarket Club (Switzerland)
Gala for the Prince of Morocco
Symphonic Hall (Aarhus)
Jazz House (Copenhagen)
Bazbar (St Barths)
Pacha (Ibiza)
COMA (Adelaide AU)
Foundry 616  (Sydney)
505 Jazz Club (Sydney)
The Prom  (Adelaide AU)
Paris Cat (Mebourne AU)
The Ellington (Perth AU)
Perth Int'l Jazz Festival (Perth AU)
Jazz Dock (Prague)