Music has always been about that feeling for me. You know, that undeniable, unshakeable, and unbreakable vibration of sound – specifically the ones curated to connect and express. The type of sound that shatters all egos and ignites that palpable harmony of kindness and unison. Those compilations and works of audible art that truly touch the essence of your soul, that evoke the pure, juicy, goodness of possibility and wholesome love that cannot quite be matched by much else.
This type of sound is the music that calls to me and this is precisely why I am so drawn and delighted by the recent release from Denver’s freshest new band, Midnight.Blue. This dreamy supergroup of sorts is offering to the world their articulated and sultry fusion of Neo-Soul, R&B, Funk, Jazz, and Hip-Hop.
Midnight.Blue: Meet Denver’s Freshest Band
With their debut album Breathe, Midnight.Blue delivers the first full-length release from the Mile High City’s newest record label, Perception Records. This particular project is composed of a high-class handful of impressive musicians, spearheaded by Jay Greens (producer, guitar, Perception Records founder), Josh Fairman (producer, bass), and Ian Gilley (keyboard). Two years in the making, Breathe showcases the brains and musical juices of the beforementioned artists as well as Adam Deitch (drums), Halle Tomlinson (vocals), Eric “Benny” Bloom (trumpet), Drew Sayers (saxophone), Lyle Divinsky (vocals), G. Finesse (vocals), and Will Trask (drums). Compose Yourself Magazine had the pleasure of sitting down with the sole female member of the group, Halle Tomlinson, to discuss the creative process and her role in this euphoria-inducing soundscape that we can’t get enough of.
Halle Tomlinson is a vocalist, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and music teacher, among her many passions and skills. She supported Breathe with her enchanting voice on multiple tracks, including the opening track “Remember,” which she wrote the lyrics and melody for. When asked how she became a part of the Midnight.Blue crew, Halle says her long-time friend Jake (Jay Greens) previewed some of the tracks with her and she was instantly in.
The 24-year-old’s soulful voice fits like a glove in the R&B realm, infusing an exquisite and necessary dose of feminine energy to the Midnight.Blue package. When asked how recording an album with some of the scene’s top traveling musicians was able to happen, Tomlinson says “everyone got together as time allowed, slowly bringing each individual musician’s piece of the puzzle together until each sonic layer was thoroughly seasoned and mastered.”
Breaking Down Debut Album Breathe
Breathe gracefully opens with “Remember,” a smooth, sultry jam perfect for a rainy Sunday afternoon of reminiscing. With hints of fall in the air, this song conjures up that nostalgia of lover’s passed, that taste of waking up with them that you never wanted to forget, but consequently had to…le sigh. The breakdown between the keys and drums dances hand-in-hand with Fairman’s bass groove, as Tomlinson indulges that the song is about “remembering love…sometimes you start to forget and get jaded and it’s a nice memory when that pops into your mind.”
Intentionally leaving no moment to waste, “Take The Time” comes correct with an accomplished horn section made of trumpet player Eric “Benny” Bloom (Lettuce) and saxophonist Drew Sayers (The Motet). With the enrapturing voice and layered lyrics of Lyle Divinsky (formerly of The Motet), “Take The Time” was the first release from the album and is dedicated to how we spend our most valuable asset in this life, our time. The hip-hop imposed drum beat mixes perfectly with the contemporary horn arrangements and inviting bassline for a groove we will take our time to listen to.
Another song devoted to wisely using our time, but this instance focused more on our life’s vision – both past, present, and future. “20/20” features luscious and conscious rhymes by G. Finesse, while Divinsky rounds off the song with an uplifting chorus between verses, bridging the gap between past reflections and future aspirations.
Poppy, funky, and catchy tune “Show You How” follows suit, prompting the lighthearted air and excitement of that special and intimate connection we all long for. So grab your closest cuddle buddy or that crush you have always wanted to go on a date with and let Lyle and this lovely song show you how it’s done (quite literally though…the full-length studio video is out now)!
“Illumination” simulates those slower R&B vibes to start and around halfway through, the horns and drums culminate a gorgeously displayed build-up of experiential sounds to create an almost psychedelic climax of the album. The intensity’s so good it “slaps you in the face,” says Tomlinson “great stuff.” We absolutely agree.
Flowing seamlessly from “Illumination” comes my personal favorite of the album, “Contemplation.” An exquisite piano melody opens the number, enveloping the listener in a warm blanket of comfort before the melody picks up. The soothing element of consistency rocks you into an easeful state before the sounds take off into more jazz-inspired realm and we hear each player embellish their instrument into the close.
In “From a Dream,” soulful struts from the horns lure you into a dream state trance as you coast the sonic realms with Halle Tomlinson as your navigating guide. Halle’s timbre and intonation shine forth with Lyle’s harmonies pairing perfectly with the steady pace of the guitar, drums, and bass. From a dream to reality, “we got work to do” is the message of the song, “giving a reminder to just be alert in life and self-aware as well and just day to day…that was is a really important one cause I feel like a lot of people miss that step” says Tomlinson.
Lyle dives right into overarching themes of romance and time in “Let Me In,” this go-around delivering an empowering and straightforward ode to the complexities and confusion of dating and relationships. “Let Me In” is an easy-listening tune that everyone can surely relate to in some way. At the same time, the musical arrangements create such a robust and enjoyable sound impossible to deny.
The final track, which shares the title of the album, “Breathe,” is a delightful way to wrap up this intricately woven web of musical layers, luscious lyricists, and thoughtfully engineered production. It is no secret the power of the breath, the way it moves up through truly everything, and how that reflects living our fullest lives and being as mindful and aware as we can.
When asked what she composes herself of, Halle says “I am a firm believer in failing upward and always trying to look in a little deeper and become as self-aware as possible. Keeping an open mind through not only music but life, in general, has a huge huge role to play in self-growth and I think that I try to live by that as true as a humanly can.” We feel that.
You can clearly hear, see, and feel the thoughtfulness, time, and effort that went into creating “Breathe,” and with the skill of so many incredible players involved, it really is no wonder why. The final product is a next-level addition to all music lovers’ repertoires, for those who appreciate finally-crafted arrangements, sexy vocals paired with groovy compositions, and a delectable variety of all of the best genres of music.
Check out Midnight.Blue for yourself by streaming the album on all platforms now. If you luckily live in Denver, you can catch Midnight.Blue at their live debut on Thursday, September 1st, at the Bluebird Theater. Joined by Recess and Sinclair Soul (Vibes of Issac Sinclair Teel), the event is also the launch of Perception Records so it’s sure to be a damn good time. Tickets are available here.
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