Ria Mae and Three Sheet bring pop and hip-hop to Glasgow Square

Amanda Jess
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NEW GLASGOW – The third Music Shapes New Glasgow show may be called pop/hip-hop night, but it will feature a little bit of everything.

Halifax-based hip-hop group Three Sheet will join singer/songwriter Ria Mae and full band on stage Saturday, two performances that each transcend one or two genres, Vanessa Furlong, vocalist and MC for Three Sheet, says.

“We have played with Ria before. We mix well with her,” Furlong says, adding that they plan to spill over into each other’s sets.

Three Sheet blends a number of sounds, including rock, funk, and hip-hop with each performer adding their own musical perspective.

Opposites attract, even in music, and Furlong suspects that’s why their group works so well together.

Furlong comes from a background of classical and opera music, incorporating that into her powerful vocals.

“You have to have the chemistry between people to keep it going,” Furlong says, adding that the music alone isn’t enough.

The group started working together five years ago, focusing on keeping their sound live.

They boast a set list without pre-recorded samples, only live vocals by Furlong and Matt Kliffer (Expedyte), instrumental from Ryan O’Quinn and Kevin Tilley and beatboxing from Eric MacIntyre (EMC).

They try to offer a different flavor of hip-hop.

They don’t want to be associated with negative connotations from the genre.

“We’re not like what you might see on MTV which might not be family friendly,” Furlong said.

Furlong says having a female vocalist sets them apart as well.

Although they pride themselves on their live sound, they took a step back from it for their third album, scheduled to come out in the fall, and brought in a new producer to help them out.

“We’re known for that live energy where we only use beatbox, no samples and no looping, but it doesn’t translate big in a recording. We were missing that full sound,” she says of their last two albums.

Ria Mae has also been working on a new album, which she intends to preview in New Glasgow.

Mae did a smaller show in the Green Room at Glasgow Square less than two months ago as part of a songwriters’ circle with Carmel Mikol and Kim Wempe.

“I think it’s totally different. The live band showcases the songs how they are meant to sound. I’m really excited to take that to New Glasgow,” she says.

Since she started working with Classified, she says she’s been put on several bills with hip-hop artists.

Her new material still offers the same relatable lyrics with catchy hooks that her fans love, but wraps in something extra.

“He (Classified) is always pushing for the songs to be the best they can be and I've really learned a lot from that. He's added a vibe to my sound that I've been unable to find in the past. He's really a great pop arranger. I'm so happy I got to work with him again on this latest project,” she says.

She released Leaving Today as a single in 2012, produced under Classified, showcasing what listeners have to look forward to from the upcoming full album with a louder instrumental backing behind Mae’s stirring voice.

Mae’s debut full-length album, Under Your Skin, earned her a 2012 East Coast Music Award for Pop Recording of the Year.

Mae and Three Sheet take over Glasgow Square at 8 p.m. on April 19.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door with reduced pricing for students.

 

Amanda.jess@ngnews.ca

On Twitter: @NGNewsAmanda 

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