Daphne Willis / Jen Kearney & the Lost Onion
In the little more than three years since she grabbed her acoustic guitar and took the stage for the first time, Chicago-based Daphne Willis has grown from a feisty neophyte into a self-assured, marvelously expressive artist with a bracingly seductive sound. The 22-year-old's Vanguard Records debut, What to Say, documents her voyage of self-discovery and is a captivating introduction to a fresh voice that both reflects and scrutinizes the social patterns of her generation. Also appearing: Jen Kearney and the Lost Onion.
Willis began recording the tracks that would grow into What to Saywith the help of Chicago-based engineer Stephen Shirk and had planned to release it herself. Serendipitously, Vanguard and Welk Music Group head Kevin Welk plugged in his earphones during an American Airlines flight and heard several cuts from her self-made 2007 EP, Matter of Time, on one of the in-flight music programs. Immediately hooked by Willis's vocal emotiveness and the depth of her writing, Welk wasted no time tracking her down.
A smoke ring from a Cuban cigar wafts through a city kitchen as a soul singer croons on crackly vinyl; freshly diced onions sizzle as they hit the olive oil in Sunday's morning's pan. With a pungent mix of soul, Latin, funk, reggae, and good ole rock 'n' roll, Jen Kearney & the Lost Onion will take you into the kitchen to find that sweetness in the soul food you crave.