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Multi-genre artist Damien Sneed returns to his Gospel roots with the release of his brand new project, Damien Sneed on Friday, February 25, 2022, on his boutique label, LeChateau Earl Records.
DISCONNECTED is a collection of soulful and inspirational songs, recorded in a free-form studio with Sneed on piano and vocals alongside several renowned singers, including Chenee Campbell, Linny Smith, Tiffany Stevenson and Matia Washington.
The album’s first single, “Jehovah God, You Are My All”, was recently released on Gospel radio. DISCONNECTED is available on all digital retail and streaming platforms.
The physical liberation of DISCONNECTED also coincides with Sneed’s special appearance at the Berklee College of Music’s Piano and Voice Departments Hammond Organ Summit today, February 24, 2022. He will lead two sessions titled Gospel Keyboard Techniques and Band Rehearsal Techniques, which are open to the Berklee community.
While in Boston, Sneed will continue to headline her 25-city North American tour, A Tribute to Aretha Franklin, The Queen of Soul with special guest singer-songwriter Valerie Simpson at the Berklee Performance Center tomorrow, Friday, February 25, 2022. The tour also features Gospel legend Karen Clark Sheard, who does not appear on this date from Berklee. This dynamic presentation celebrates the incredible musical legacy of the late Mrs. Franklin, arranged and musically conducted by Sneed, and features an accomplished cast of jazz, gospel and soul musicians and singers. The tour kicked off Thursday, February 3, 2022 at the Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and ends Sunday, March 20, 2022 at the Kupferberg Center for the Arts at Queens College in Flushing, NY, which will feature both Clark Sheard and Simpson in the final performance of the tour. For more information about the tour, please visit www.damiensneed.com.
DISCONNECTED focuses on Sneed’s gospel side of his repertoire, leading a virtuoso ensemble of instrumentalists and singers with a special appearance from Stellar Gospel Music Award-winning artist Tasha Page-Lockhart, who has a series of Billboard chart-topping recordings to his credit.
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DISCONNECTED reunites Sneed with singers whose careers he has seen grow over the years and with whom he has strong relationships. “I’m super proud of this album because all the singers grew up in the industry,” Sneed explains. “They all sing with major artists and they are all artists in their own right.” Although most of the songs were previously recorded by Sneed, they were not previously rehearsed by the ensemble, and most are recorded in two parts to extend the improvisational feel. “We wanted people to just hear the raw execution of what just happened in the studio. We have never done this before. We just went into the studio saying, ‘No rehearsals at all,’” Sneed explains.
Weaving their incredible vocals into intuitive and completely unheard-of harmonies at New York’s AlJo Studios in Queens, Sneed and his vocalists infuse the spiritual traditional “Oh, Freedom” and previously recorded tunes like “Still Small Voice” and “Broken to Minister “with incandescent fervor. Sneed chose to record “Oh, Freedom” in direct response to the unjust murder of George Floyd and support for the Black Lives Matter movement. “In the black church, gospel music was also important for protests and reconciliations, targeted social channels,” he explains. “I was just bringing back the importance of what the gospel and the church represented in civil rights.”
While Sneed and his singers and musicians were nervous about the coronavirus, they showed faith by recording together in one room, excited for the opportunity to create once more after so many pandemic shutdowns had kept them from to perform live. The joy of their collaboration is evident in every note. “We were a little scared,” admits Sneed, “but we trusted each other.”
The project is the first studio album under the Sneed name to be entirely in the gospel genre and bears similarities to his 2015 double-disc project, Broken To Minister: The Deluxe Edition. At the height of the pandemic, Sneed won a 2020 Dove Award and was recognized for his work as a producer on the multiple award-winning Clark Sisters albums. The return, which featured the single “Broken To Minister” which he co-wrote and co-produced. The return album also won a 2021 NAACP Image Award.
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Sneed is a composer, conductor, pianist and singer, and arts educator whose work spans multiple genres. He has also worked with classical, jazz and R&B legends, including the late Jessye Norman, and is featured on Norman’s latest recording, On the way to the promised land.
He has also worked with Wynton Marsalis, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Ashford & Simpson, Lawrence Brownlee, J’Nai Bridges, Raehann Bryce-Davis, Brandie Inez Sutton and many more.
Sneed served as musical director for Grammy-winning gospel artists The Clark Sisters, Richard Smallwood, Donnie McClurkin, Hezekiah Walker, Marvin Sapp, Karen Clark Sheard, Dorinda Clark-Cole, and Kim Burrell, among others.
Sneed is also the founder and artistic director of the Chorale Le Château, which has earned a worldwide reputation for its lively interpretations of vocal literature, from Renaissance pieces and art songs to jazz, spirituals, gospel. and avant-garde contemporary music.
His other recordings include Classically Harlem (which commemorated the centennial of the Harlem Renaissance (1920-2020)…
His other recordings include Classically Harlem (which commemorated the centennial of the Harlem Renaissance (1920-2020), Jazz in Manhattan (September 2019), Damien Sneed: We will overcome (January 2019), Broken to the Minister: The Deluxe Edition (March 2015), Spiritual Sketches (June 2013), and LIVE Insights (January 2010).
Sneed is featured in Aaron Dworkin’s recent book, The Artist Entrepreneur: Lessons from Highly Successful Creators. The book also features Emmy Award-winning actor Jeff Daniels, Tony Award-winning choreographer Bill T. Jones, and Pulitzer Prize winners Wynton Marsalis and Lin-Manuel Miranda, among others. The artist entrepreneur explores the lessons of love, sacrifice, loss, despair, perseverance and triumph.
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The Sphinx Medal of Excellence recipient is also featured in the award-winning PBS documentary Everyone has their place, which stars Wynton Marsalis. The film traces Sneed’s journey as conductor of Marsalis’ historic performance of the “Abyssinian Mass,” which was performed by the world-renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and Sneed’s 70-piece LeChateau Choir. .
In 2019, Sneed joined the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music, where he teaches graduate-level courses in orchestral conducting, African-American music history, singer-songwriter ensemble, a gospel music ensemble and private lessons in piano, voice and composition. .
A graduate of John S. Davidson Fine Arts School in his hometown of Augusta, Georgia, Sneed studied at some of the top conservatories and universities, including Howard University, where he earned a Bachelor of Music – Piano Performance. ; the Peabody Conservatory at Johns Hopkins University; New York University, where he earned a Master of Music in Music Technology: Notation for Film and Multimedia; and the Manhattan School of Music.
Sneed will earn his doctorate in orchestral conducting from USC in 2022. Sneed was a faculty member of the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at Tisch School of the Arts and Nyack College at New York University.
His other professional affiliations include the Juilliard School as an accompanist, Jazz at Lincoln Center as an artistic consultant, and the City University of New York (CUNY) as a music teacher. In 2015, Sneed established the Damien Sneed Performing Arts Institute, a division of the Damien Sneed Foundation.
In 2019 and 2020, Sneed embarked on two 40-city North American tours, “We Shall Overcome: A Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., featuring Damien Sneed”. In honor of Dr. King, Sneed delivered her brand of classic, jazz and hallowed soul to venues across the country during the MLK holiday, Black History Month and Women’s History Month. .
For more information about Damien Sneed and LeChateau Earl Records, visit www.damiensneed.com and www.lechateauearl.com.