Proud of one of our Creative Soul music Instructors, Becky Middleton, featured in the White Rock Fort Worth Weekly:
MUSIC Middleton heading in the right direction
by Hannah Allen White
July 18th, 2013
I first heard Middleton perform with Ishi at the legendary Trees last spring. When I say “heard,” I mean she somehow made it into my consciousness amid the lasers, glitter, Indian headdresses, full-length fur coats and tambourines indicative of an Ishi dance show.
Since then, I heard a few rumors that she had teamed up with local producer Beau Bedford to record her sophomore solo album. When I asked Bedford what I could possibly expect from the war-painted goddess carrying a tambourine, his mood became serious and he succinctly told me what I could expect was soul.
Even though Ishi put Middleton in the mainstream’s line of sight, she is by no means a newbie to the Dallas circuit.
She grew up in a family where music was abundant and singing in church inspired her. During college, she studied vocal performance and trained to become an opera singer, but her passion for writing and performing her own music won out. She switched her major to Music Business and planted herself in the driver’s seat of her own destiny.
Middleton took a risk a few years ago when she agreed to replace Ishi’s incredibly popular former female singer at a critical point in their career.
“I was not going to be anyone else but me,” she said about how she approached the opportunity. “I took a different turn but I’ve gotten positive feedback from fans.”
After the group finished their second record, they made the decision to present themselves as a three-piece and offered to hire Middleton on an as-needed basis.
“It’s kind of bittersweet,” she said of the line-up change. “It wasn’t an easy decision but it’s a good thing.”
The “good thing” she’s talking about is an ambitious undertaking of a full-length solo record, chalked full of blue-eyed soul that, she says, she’s refusing to self-release; meaning, the behind-the-scenes work is well underway.
I was given an opportunity to preview some of Middleton’s forthcoming material and I must say that in a scene becoming rapidly oversaturated in Black Keys derivative roots rockers, her honest take on feminine soul is not only welcome but badly needed.
Becky Middleton ditches the world-weary penchants of the great divas who inspired her, taking their unbeatable qualities of heart and soul, and mix them with a clear and innocent voice - giving her an approachable quality much like that of your best girlfriend. This element stands out amid the sultry smoke many women in that world conjure, even though the songs (in true soul fashion) were inspired by a break-up.
She says her experience with Ishi has given her the “moxy” it takes to carry a full band as a front woman.“Even though the genres might be different the spirit of Ishi is celebration,” Middleton said. “That’s very liberating. I had no choice but to surrender to that but I feel like I’m finally ‘me’ now!”
Her forthcoming record is projected to be released in 2014 and a new single should be making its way out as a precursor. Until then, she is bringing her new material to the masses with live shows.
“I believe in this more than I’ve ever believed in anything,” she replied when asked about her trajectory as an artist.
“I feel privileged to be part of such a time as this.”
Becky Middleton will be performing with her band at the Prophet Bar in Deep Ellum on Friday, and again at “Beats for Beckham: De-Clutter for a Cause” on Saturday. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter for news on upcoming shows and look for her previous work on iTunes.