Soul cats on the prowl

The Black is Vinyl show featuring a mix of old, new and original Soul will see vocalists Shannen Wick and Vanessa Fernadez reunite on stage.

By Helena Adeloju

Berwick’s Vanessa Fernandez will make her long-awaited return to the Paris Cat in Melbourne in her new show Black is Vinyl.
The show featuring a mix of old, new and original soul will play for one night only later this month and see her reunite with vocalists Shannen Wick on stage.
Although both trained under the same vocal coach, it was their choice of music genre that saw the two go their separate ways 10 years ago.
Wick pursued her love of soul with her original soul outfit Fulton Street and Fernandez hit the jazz scene with Fernandez and Wright.
It was a chance online meeting three months ago that set wheels in motion for the two to work together.
“We discovered each other online earlier this year and then we were both programmed to perform at the Stonnington Jazz Festival so that got us back in touch,” Ferandez said.
She said putting the show together had been a process of discovering how much their common vocal training had influenced each of them.
“We sound very similar,” Fernadez said.
“You can hear the training when we both sing together.”
The release of her debut album Fernandez and Wright Unsung in 2009 with guitarist Steve Wright, saw her perform at premium venues around Melbourne including at the Arts Centre Melbourne, the State Theatre, Paris Cat and Bennetts Lane.
A lot has happened for the now 41-year-old during the last eight years, but now she is revisiting songs written before her children were born.
“I have a lot of work that I have written,” Fernadez said.
“It’s been busy with kids but now I’m going back to tunes I wrote as jazz numbers before they were born and writing them as soul.”
Fernadez sees a bright future ahead but she’s not getting ahead of herself.
“We’ll see how this gig goes,” she said.
“I’m looking to do more locally, maybe at the Berwick Botanical Gardens in the summer and hopefully at Bunjil Place when it opens later this year,” she said.
She is also not ruling out recording a new album with the help of a crowd funding or an arts grant in the near future.
For now, Fernadez said the audience will be entertained by a wide selection of soul with a touch of jazz at her Paris Cat comeback show.
“People can expect to hear a diverse program,” she said.
The duo will perform music from the likes of Etta James, Sharon Jones, Sam Cook and the latest local and international new releases from Leon Bridges, Snarky Puppy and Melbourne’s own The Meltdown and as well as original music written by the two soul songstresses themselves.
Black Is Vinyl – Old, New and Original is at the Paris Cat Jazz Club, 6 Goldie Place, Melbourne, on Thursday 15 June at 8pm.
Tickets are $25. Boom at