[dl] Misc.

By plugging into electronica, Jamie Lidell has broken from the current pack of Brit soul artists.
By Bob Mehr

  • Image about jamie-lidell-al-pacino-target-amy-winehouse-americanway

For Jamie Lidell, now really is the time for a little bit more. Thanks, at least in part, to his song by that name -- “A Little Bit More” -- and its notable appearance in a recent TV commercial for Target, the 34-year-old British songwriter, producer, and burgeoning soul-music star is poised for further breakout successes with his third album, Jim.

If he manages to connect again with the mainstream, as he did through his last album, 2005’s Multiply, the Cambridge-born music whiz will become the overnight sensation that’s lasted a decade. He has spent years honing his craft and developing a following in the electronic underground. Lidell collaborated with Christian Vogel on techno-funk outfit Super_Collider while earning a reputation and has worked on electronic remixes of dozens of songs from a variety of artists. But his biggest success came with Multiply. That disc, whose title track popped up on Grey’s Anatomy and whose content contained “A Little Bit More,” got Lidell noticed for his unique talent of using his surprisingly rich and powerful voice to blend soul music with electronic flourishes. It’s Motown meets the future. Jim continues that tradition, with Lidell again exploring the frontiers of a kind of cosmic R&B. The album is an evocative sonic mashup of the new and old schools and marks Lidell’s first complete album in which he moves from behind the mixing board to stand in front of the microphone. We talked to him about that ongoing transition.

Has it been strange to shift from working behind the scenes to being in the spotlight? Well, I’m not really used to, like, actually working. I like being a kind of a musical bum and hanging around and making tracks. As soon as people around you start to organize themselves into armies to go into battle -- for sales or press or radio -- it all feels a little bit insane to me. The shift in focus from being a guy who spends his days making tracks and having a cup of tea to a guy who has dates and commitments scheduled seven months down the line has been a bit of a shocker.

  • Image about jamie-lidell-al-pacino-target-amy-winehouse-americanway
Although your entire body of work is well known in Europe, your main exposure in the United States has come through a couple of your songs being used in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy and in a Target ad. Yes, I’m a two-song wonder right now. I was very reluctant to jump on that train. It took awhile for me to agree to do a Target ad, although I’ve seen the benefit, of course.

But with my whole solo career, I felt like it was a bit of an open book, and a couple more chapters needed to be added before I closed that one and moved on to something new. Even though I’ve enjoyed a little success, with the new album I really resisted doing anything formulaic. It’s a bit of a shame when artists feel they have to play to a demographic or an audience. You just become like a food supplier then. Maybe if I was more like John Mayer, or John Legend, even, I could ship a few more records. But I prefer to do things in my own way, musically speaking.

You’ve been lumped, somewhat incorrectly, into the whole UK old-school soul revival that’s going on now. But you actually cut Multiply well before that movement was in vogue. It’s funny: I did Multiply, and I thought, Maybe people will want to hear this kind of music again, because I was really down with it myself. And at that time, there wasn’t a lot of stuff coming out in England that sounded like it.

Of course, now there are many British retro soul artists, including Amy Winehouse, Aimée Duffy, and Adele Adkins. I don’t know how I fit into all that. I feel like I’m the schizo in that crowd. Because, as people who’ve seen my live show can attest, I’m not really loyal to a genre. I’m not loyal to anything. If you want to think about me as an artist, I’m just as liable to draw on Can and Sun Ra as I am on Otis Redding. I’m not a pure soul artist in that sense.
I guess you could say I’m the less clean version of Amy Winehouse. Well … [laughs] actually, I don’t know if I’m less clean than her.

Worth Your Money
Here are three new movies you should check out this month. By John Ross
MOVIE: 88 Minutes
STARS: Al Pacino, Judging Amy’s Amy Brenneman, Cybill’s Alicia Witt, and Joan of Arc’s Leelee Sobieski
CSI MEETS 24 MEETS SILENCE OF THE LAMBS MEETS THE PAPER CHASE: Pacino is a college professor and part-time forensic psychiatrist. Hey, who isn’t these days? He gets a call -- possibly from a serial killer -- telling him that he’s going to be murdered in exactly 88 minutes. An Oscar winner? No. But it’s always fun to see Pacino yelling his way through a film.
BEST LINE: The potential killer tells Pacino, “Tick tock, Doc.”
WHEN TO SEE IT: In theaters April 18

MOVIE: The Life Before Her Eyes
STARS: Uma Thurman, Evan Rachel Wood, and Brett Cullen
A QUESTION: Have you ever wondered what Thirteen’s Evan Rachel Wood will look like when she’s all grown up and fortyish? According to this film, which follows Wood’s character from high school to adulthood, she’ll look a lot like Uma Thurman.
A MOVIE BUILT ON SAND: The film, which involves Wood/Thurman dealing with a high-school shooting, is directed by Vadim Perelman. He also helmed the gripping House of Sand and Fog, which was adapted from a National Book Award finalist. Life is also adapted from a book, one whose story continually jumps from present day to the past. It’s a difficult technique to bring to film, but Perelman is up to the challenge.
DIRK NOWITZKI DOES NOT APPEAR: The film was produced by Magnolia Pictures, the independent distributor co-owned by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
WHEN TO SEE IT: In theaters April 18

MOVIE: Forgetting Sarah Marshall
STARS: Veronica Mars’s Kristen Bell and How I Met Your Mother’s Jason Segel
IT IS NOT SAMANTHA WHO?: While it’s true that both this movie and the ABC show Samantha Who? star slight, towheaded actresses who formerly appeared in cult TV hits, the similarities end there. Samantha Who? is a Christina Applegate show about a woman who has forgotten her past because she is suffering from amnesia. This is a movie about a guy who is trying to forget his girlfriend (played by Bell) because he is suffering from a bad breakup. Totally different.
IT IS ANOTHER CHANCE TO MAKE A STAR OUT OF A GANGLY, DORKY DUDE: The movie is produced by Judd Apatow, who was also behind The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up. As such, the star is a relatable, good-natured doofus who looks surprisingly like a combo of Steve Carell and Seth Rogen. Also, Paul Rudd, who apparently is under contract to appear in all Apatow productions, is in the cast.
WHEN TO SEE IT: In theaters April 18