Brooklyn-based singer Alecia Chakour is a soul siren. Armed with a bellowing voice, she wraps her vocal chords around weighty issues of love, heartbreak and struggle with the timelessness of an old soul reincarnate. Using soul’s great arrangement styles of yesteryear as fodder, Alecia coalesces punchy horns, gospel harmonies and an ardent R&B sound to make remarkably honest music.
Backed by a stellar band, Alecia keeps it all in the family. Alecia Chakour & the Osrah (literally family in Arabic), brings together Alecia’s closest friends and family. Alecia’s brother plays guitar, her close hometown friends play drums, bass and keys, and the other guys are like brothers from another mother. This isn’t the Jackson 5, and there are no choreographed dances (yet), but man, is there soul.Born in the small town of Amherst, MA, home to five colleges and a quirky musical community, Alecia grew her musical roots within an intellectual and nurturing environment. Her father, Joe Cocker’s former musical director, and an influential soul and blues musician in his own right, opened Alecia’s world to the soul greats. Alecia spent time with her father at sessions and shows taking in powerhouses such as Ray Charles, BB King, Matt “Guitar” Murphy and Bonnie Raitt. At home, Alecia found comfort listening to artists like Candi Staton and Otis Redding on her family’s record player. “In soul, you never feel like folks are trying to be too slick or sexy or too anything. They are just singing and letting it out,” says Alecia.
Deemed a vocal wunderkind, Alecia was nearly signed to a major label at age 16. When asked to sing gimmicky pop songs instead of the gritty soul she loved, Alecia realized their intentions were more rooted in sales than music. With her big dreams dangling seemingly within her reach, Alecia made the difficult decision to forgo a major label relationship and instead forge her own path.
Alecia has now collaborated with musicians across all genres-- from rappers to psychedelic rockers, Broadway divas to legendary blues crews, crooners to jazz heads and opened for the legendary James Brown and KRS-One. She has been featured on Fader.com, BlindifortheKids, SoulCulture, Nu-SoulMag and more.
Out of the spotlight, Alecia is strongly informed by her cultural heritage. “I come from a very mixed background,” says Alecia. Alecia’s father is Arab and her mom is Jewish. “I feel so connected to all sides of myself, and I think it's beautiful to be able to celebrate these two very similar yet distinct cultures. I feel compelled to step out and be proud of my heritage and represent our powerful diversity.”
Alecia Chakour & the Osrah are releasing their EP Loomi with the Arts and Music Factory in October 2010.