After stepping out of the spotlight to deal with a family tragedy stemming from a fatal house fire, the major mama from Mississauga, Ontario is set to drop her first album in five years, Groove Symphony, later this month.
It's an extremely significant one for Liberty, not only as a career benchmark but also as musical memorial to her father, gravely ill at the time of interview, who was a bone deep inspiration to the lady.
“Essentially I had to step up and take responsibility for raising two of my granddaughters. I felt family was more important than career and I acted on that.
“ To be honest I thought it would be easier, but now I just use more beauty aid. Everything coming into the house is strictly monitored and we do a lot of family things together. I knew that the music could always wait. I’m always family first, because I know when you do work hard, you do get rewarded. And I don’t buy into a lot of fame and bling things . I’ve seen a lot of that, enough to know what the value of that is. Especially compared to the value of other things.
“Once the kids were on the right track, I was ready to get back to making music. There was such a backlog of emotions and ideas once I sat down I had all the writing done in a month. I was born to make music and so I knew when the time was right it would all come pouring out.”
At Last (2005)was the last time we heard new music from Liberty and fans of that album may be a tad surprised by Liberty’s new sound, several steps away from her smooth jazz stylings.
“ How to describe it, a marriage of the best of old and new school soul. A lot of it is in the title, it’s taking a path like a symphony built on the groove.”
She has some small experience of classical composition, as dad was a violinist with The Peterborough Symphony and indeed, the album is dedicated to his spirit and love of music
“ If the album has a mandate, it’s putting forward spirituality without religion”., she says, then laughingly shares that during hiatus she was also “building up the merch”, in the early stage of launching her own line of healing jewellery and with a clothing line for comfortably built ladies waiting in the wings.
In the right now Groove Symphony is the major focus and Liberty’s excited about that.
“ Apart from writing, I ended up doing all the sound engineering and co-producing. This wasn't that new, as I’ve done engineering on a lot of my albums. Just something I picked up over time and I really enjoy it.
“ The song choice came down to putting a little bit of everything out there They’re unified by the new sound; we have the best of old and new school r’n’b, some jazzy soul and power ballads.”
The mix translates well, coming off lush and full without sacrificing that scrappy old school soul band sound and fans of the pure Liberty Silver vocals won’t be disappointed. The lady allows she’s happy with the album both as a musical artifact and a document of struggle and resilience.
.” I feel negative things are a trial to see what you can deal with and come out the other side. I’ve had lot of negative experiences but I steadfastly lean to the positive because I believe that if I put positive energy out there, I will attract positive situations.
“ Raising the kids gave me a new appreciation for just being here, being able to walk around and look at the flowers, just being able to do these things we take for granted”.
Silver’s at that stage in her career where can look back and note her benchmarks (3 Junos) and influences (Divine Brown) and simultaneously look forward to the next career phase. Not to mention the high esteem in which she’s held as a doer of good works and activist for bettering the plight of the disadvantaged.
With all that, as Silver prepares to launch her new album, she knows the waters are uncertain.
“ I have an international fan base which gives me an ongoing level of support. The music industry has a great respect for me and I’ve earned that. I worry about the new people coming up though because the Canadian music industry hasn’t gotten better at marketing its own urban music.
“The people responsible seem scared to take chances and by playing it safe, all they’ll work with and promote is safe music and that isn’t going to impress anyone.
“ They’re still not sure how to move Canadian talent onto the US and international levels. They’ve had better success with hip hop because that’s an easier sell. I love FLOW, God bless them but they’re still playing too much imported hip hop and I'm not hearing enough Canadian music”.
Until the album drops, tours plans are up in the air for a number of reasons, not the least being that Liberty is in demand in Europe and might just tour over there before debuting the album at home.
“It depends on a number of factors but generally I love playing the big outdoor festivals. I generally don’t do clubs unless it’s a very very special occasion but I imagine there will be an album release tour of Ontario to start.”