THE SOUL OF REMY AS A BOY, SHAND FED MUSICAL DESTINY WITH A STEADY DIET OF CLASSIC RECORDS.
NEO-SOULMAN Remy Shand believes that he was destined to become a musician. Music is in his blood.
It's in his name.
``My name is from the musical scale 'do, re, me,' '' Shand, 24, said, referring to the pronunciation of Remy. ``Some people always thought it was French, but I'm not French. It was purely musical.''
Shand, who opens for Sheryl Crow today at Irvine's Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, answered his musical calling this past March when he released ``The Way I Feel,'' a critically acclaimed album that Billboard magazine called ``sublime'' and USA Today dubbed ``smooth, sensual,'' adding that ``echoes of Marvin Gaye, Al Green and others can be heard.''
``It's like my influences stuck, and the minute I started singing, this thing inside of me told me where to go,'' Shand said with a chuckle. ``I remember I used to try to sing with my Otis Redding records, and it was just too hard. Then I'd put on Earth, Wind and Fire, and it's like, 'Oh, that's my range. This is great!' ''
This was just part of the music that was handed down to the native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, from his parents, both of whom he described as ``music junkies.''
``Miles Davis, Sly and the Family Stone, Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder: There was always something just warm about these artists and their music,'' Shand said. ``I just couldn't walk away from it.''
As Elton John observed about ``The Way I Feel'' - one of his favorite albums - in the June 2002 issue of Interview magazine, ``Remy Shand pays tribute to all the foundations laid down by the great black male soul singers, but he has his own style as well.''
Shand began honing this style the second he picked up the guitar at the age of 10. Six months later, he was getting funky on bass with support from his musician father.
``It's always a question in a musical family: 'OK, should you go take lessons?' Should I go take vocal lessons, or what should I do?'' he said. ``We didn't have the money to do that, so my dad was like, 'Here's these records. This is all the research you'll need. Learn from the masters, no one knows better.' ''
Shand said that he absorbed everything. He learned production from George Martin (The Beatles) and engineering from Eddie Kramer (Jimi Hendrix).
By his teens, Shand had recorded an album whose sound was reminiscent of P-Funk and Prince.
``Just going back and looking at it now, it was still very juvenile in its content and some of its tempo and stuff,'' he said with a chuckle. ``I was still growing as a person, and I thought, 'Well, I don't want to stick to this as my sound.' ''
It took a while, but his sound mellowed. He wrote and recorded six songs that would ultimately become the makings of ``The Way I Feel.''
John told Interview that ``The Way I Feel'' is ``the most soulful album I've heard in quite some time. ... It's a word-of-mouth album a bit like India.Arie's in that it's not particularly commercial, but stay with it and you will love it forever.''
``For someone like Elton John to come out and say such great things is like, 'Wow!' It's such a huge compliment,'' Shand said. ``It reassures me that I'm doing what I should be doing.''
REMY SHAND, FEATURED ON THE JEEP OUTSIDE WORLD TOUR WITH SHERYL CROW AND TRAIN
Where: Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, 8808 Irvine Center Drive, Irvine.
When: 3 p.m. today.
Tickets: $25 to $55. Call (213) 480-3232 or www.ticketmaster.com