Valerie Ghent

Premiere: Valerie Ghent Gets Down on “Get Funkay”

Jazz, soul, funk, and blues artist Valerie Ghent unveils the ‘Live from Lockdown’ music video for “Get Funkay,” from her album, Velours.

Written by Valerie and Jérôme Buigues a few years ago, “Get Funkay” is a perennial audience favorite at Valerie’s live performances. Talking about the song’s genesis, Valerie says, “We wrote ‘Get Funkay’ in about 20 minutes, the lyric/melody came to me while walking home one day, I heard this guitar riff in my head. When I got to France I sang it to Jé and he brought it to life!”

The video came to life when, in April, Jérôme initiated a video series entitled ‘Lockdown Sessions’ with French musicians. Valerie, who had been scheduled to arrive in France in May, followed by touring in July, never got there because of the pandemic and quarantine. Since they couldn’t tour, Valerie and her band decided to record a live video of “Get Funkay.”

Valerie shares, “We wanted to capture a real-time, live feel, no overdubs or punch-ins. It’s the way I make all my records, bringing great musicians together to record live. Though we couldn’t all be in the same room, or even same continent, we can still make music together! I was jumping around the house all day, playing with Fred, Jé and François was the most fun I’d had since being confined at home in early March.”

She goes on to add, “For this version, I was super excited that Fred (Fred Diego Alfonsi) could record drums at his home studio – Fred and I played together in Cannes, he’s great! – and François Gomez (bass) is the best, part of my band whenever I play in France. Jé surprised me by adding in the breakdown we play at concerts, and a killer guitar solo – and then sent to me in NYC to add vocals/keyboards in my home studio. What you see and hear is my first take!”

Renowned for her 31/2 octave range and her deluxe contralto tones, Valerie has released five solo albums, a chart-topping hit song, and shared the stage with Ashford & Simpson and Debbie Harry (Blondie), and worked with Nina Simone, Sir Cliff Richard, Defunkt, Billy Preston, Roberta Flack, Iggy Pop, and Dr. Maya Angelou.

“Get Funkay” opens on a bright funk groove topped by Valerie’s delicious voice, potent and evocative. The popping bassline and finessed drums imbue the rhythm with a tight flow, establishing a dazzling foundation to emphasize Valerie’s sinuous keyboards as she displays the sonic savors and muscular flavors of her lavish vocals.

On the solo, Jérôme lays down blistering licks full of dirty-lite coloration, while François’ bassline extends to brawny sized timbres. The galvanizing culmination of the song reaches down deep, and then goes high, followed by Valerie’s sparkling “whoo” and final chortling laugh.

“Get Funkay” pumps out electrifying funk riding an infectious rhythm, all capped by the highlight of the song, the elite voice of Valerie Ghent.

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Written by Randy

Randy Radic is a Left Coast author and writer. Author of numerous true crime books written under the pen-name of John Lee Brook. Former music contributor at Huff Post.