Award-winning singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Michele Stodart will release her third album, Invitation, on September 15 via Keepsake Recordings.
Her first new solo LP in 7 years, Invitation was written, arranged and produced by Michele, with additional production from long-standing collaborator Dave Izumi Lynch.
The album was recorded at Echo Zoo Studios and features Michele on vocals, guitars, bass and percussion, as well as appearances from her brother and fellow member of The Magic Numbers, Romeo Stodart (piano), Andy Bruce (piano), Alice Phelps (harp), Will Harvey (violin and viola), CJ Jones (drums), Nick Pini (double bass), Joe Harvey-Whyte (pedal steel), Dave Izumi Lynch (synths).
Speaking about her forthcoming record, Michele commented:
“Invitation is an intimate, personal record, with songs that touch on themes of motherhood, relationships, mental health, transformation, endings and new beginnings. It comes from a place of inviting in the darkness, the hard times, the sadness, anger, loss, love and grief… all of the unknown feelings that get woken up inside you. To practice staying with them, no matter how uncomfortable. To understand that they are there to guide you.
I believe that it’s in the learning and listening that we can transform, grow, stay conscious and wholeheartedly true, open, honest with ourselves and others. Words are a powerful resource and we can choose to use them to connect deeply with one another. Song-writing has always been my way of trying to do just that, and I hope this album ‘invites’ us to reach out together”
The album artwork and illustrations of the crow, drawn by Joni Belaruski, symbolise some of the key themes of the album: the crow represents transformation, change and freedom.
The first single will be the opening track “Tell Me”- Listen here:
Alongside her role in The Magic Numbers, Michele has built up an enviable reputation for her solo work and collaborations with others over recent years. She was musical director and leader of the all-female house band for this year’s UK Americana Awards – and won its coveted Instrumentalist of the Year Award in 2022. She is curator, director and performer in a successful annual series of multi-artist shows celebrating International Women’s Day, has curated stages at numerous festivals and events and promoted regular nights at Camden’s legendary Green Note venue.
She has been honing her skills as a musical director, producer and collaborator, working on stage and in the studio with a wide range of other artists including Kathryn Williams, Billy Bragg, David Ford, Bernard Butler, Natalie Imbruglia, Hannah White, David Kitt, Julian Taylor, Ren Harvieu, Charlie Dore, Rachel Sermanni, Emily Barker, Diana Jones, O’Hooley & Tidow, amongst many others.
In 2019, she appeared in the Danny Boyle / Richard Curtis blockbuster film ‘Yesterday’.
To celebrate the release of Invitation, Michele will tour the UK with dates as follows:
5.10.23 Birmingham – Kitchen Garden Cafe
6.10.23 Chesham – The Drawing Room
13.10.23 Oxted – United Reformed Church
14.10.23 Swanage – Square & Compass
15.10.23 Winchester – The Railway Inn
18.10.23 Leamington Spa – Temperance
20.10.23 Manchester Folk Festival
27.10.23 Milton Keynes – The Stables
29.10.23 Ramsgate Music Hall
1.11.23 Leicester – The Musician*
2.11.23 Pocklington Arts Centre*
23.11.23 Sheffield – Cafe #9
24.11.23 Cheshire – Thornton Hough Village Club
25.11.23 Barton-upon-Humber – Ropery Hall
26.11.23 Bury – The Met
30.11.23 London – St Pancras Old Church
(Album Launch Show w/special guests)
*double bill with Hannah White
6.12.23 Brighton – Folklore Rooms
7.12.23 Maidenhead – Norden Farm Arts
8.12.23 Trowbridge – The Pump
MICHELE STODART BIOGRAPHY
Michele Stodart is an award-winning solo artist, singer-songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist based in London. Born in Trinidad, she spent her early years surrounded by Caribbean music and culture, until she and her family fled a military coup attempt, leading them to Queens, New York where she spent a large part of her childhood. Michele is best known as bassist, vocalist and co-songwriter of Mercury-nominated, double-platinum selling band, The Magic Numbers, who have released five critically acclaimed studio albums, with top ten singles, played multiple successful headline tours, and supported the likes of Neil Young, Radiohead, Brian Wilson, U2, Flaming Lips and Bright Eyes. She continues to play with the band and tour world-wide with them.
Alongside this, Michele has always pursued her own writing and nurtured a love for folk/Americana artists such as Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams and Gillian Welch. She started writing songs in her early teens, as a way to process and tell stories from her experiences. She would hide away to write songs, rarely playing them in public. After Michele gave birth to her daughter, her older brother, Romeo (frontman of The Magic Numbers), encouraged her to record and release an album of her own songs. This resulted in her first solo outing, Wide-Eyed Crossing(2012), a southern-drenched journey into Americana country blues. “I never thought I’d release a solo album, but I needed closure from those songs, so recording them was the only way to truly move on”, she said at the time.
From this point, Michele began playing solo shows and tours. She soon became known for her intimate, passionate and heart-wrenching live performances, gaining her new fans along the way, as well as recognition for her solo material, helping to establish her as a singer-songwriter in her own right. After the success of her solo debut, she was signed by One Little Independent and a second solo album, Pieces (2016), followed to great critical acclaim: a confessional, melodic country/roots album with an orchestral, cinematic feel.
Over recent years, Michele divides her time between her work with The Magic Numbers and her solo projects. In between recording and touring, she has also been building a name for herself as musical director, collaborator and producer. She has been invited to curate stages at a number of festivals and events, as well as promoting regular nights at Camden’s legendaryGreen Note. She continues to champion women in music and gender equality within the industry, and is curator, director and performer in a successful annual series of multi-artist shows celebrating International Women’s Day.
Her skills as a songwriter and multi-instrumentalist have led to many collaborative projects on stage and in the studio with artists such as Kathryn Williams, Billy Bragg, David Ford, Bernard Butler, Natalie Imbruglia, Ren Harvieu, Charlie Dore, David Kitt, Hannah White, Rachel Sermanni, Emily Barker, Diana Jones, O’Hooley & Tidow, amongst many others.
In 2019, Michele graced our screens in the Danny Boyle / Richard Curtis blockbuster film ‘Yesterday’. She was chosen for her role in the movie due to her melodic bass playing and electric, enigmatic stage presence. Working alongside Boyle, Curtis and musical composer Daniel Pemberton, Michele’s bass and vocals are featured on the Abbey Road Studios movie soundtrack, reinterpreting The Beatles’ most beloved hits.
In 2022, she received public recognition for her talent, when she was awarded the AMA-UK ‘Instrumentalist Of The Year‘ Award. In January 2023, she was invited back as musical director at the UK Americana Awards, where she played with the likes of Mike Scott (of The Waterboys), Allison Russell, and Lifetime Achievement award-winner Judy Collins, who took a moment on stage to compliment Michele on her “incredible” talent.
After a busy few years working on such a diverse range of projects, Michele is now ready to release her third solo studio album, Invitation, out in September 2023.
Press Quotes (for previous album)
“Steeped in languid melancholy… [it] sits in a rich tradition that encompasses such touchstone female performers as Karen Dalton, Judee Sill… Emmylou Harris or Gillian Welch… ‘Pieces’ may just be the most impressive record she’s ever made” – 8/10 – Uncut
“bearing traces of folk, country and soul… the music manages to be both tuneful and mournful, jaunty yet sad. What a combo, one that never fails to deliver.” – The Guardian
“…an album about… feeling life and the emotions it brings to their fullest intensity… instantly engaging and evocative melodies and sung with an open and honest conviction… Stodart’s album is a thing of perfection.” – Folk Radio
“…assured, melodic, intelligent” – Clash Magazine
“To say that Michele’s songs are ‘rich’ is rather an understatement – it has become the norm for the majority of people at her gigs to leave either speechless, or (and more often the case) crying…. Michele’s solo music is truly breath-taking.” – For Folk’s Sake
“…new ideas, melancholic beats and Hope Sandoval-styled smoke to the sound, her vocals creating a cinematic feel… a beautiful record, with Stodart’s home brew of Americana offering a refreshing taste.” – 4/5 – Narc Magazine
“Pieces is a beautifully delicate and emotionally open album… the skilful nature of Michele’s musicianship and her ability to craft a song with meaning that it imitates no one and burns with a soulful fire from start to finish.” – Even The Stars
“If the music style is a variant of widescreen country/roots (think a smoother Lucinda Williams), then the lyric content is no less confessional… Calm, reflective, sober – for good reason, the magic number here is one” – Irish Times