Monday, November 13, 2006
Sharing The Love Of Mary Kiani
If I had to choose three songs that defined the sound of the Sydney gay scene during the late-1990s, I would go with "Jellyhead" by Crush, "In The Evening" by Sheryl Lee Ralph and "I Imagine" by Mary Kiani, a Scottish hi-NRG dance diva . It was simply impossible to go out and not hear at least one of those tunes. More often than not you would hear all three - several times. The success of "I Imagine" was great enough to turn Mary into a Sydney scene celebrity and she has been a mainstay of gay dance parties and gay nightclubs ever since. Which is impressive given the fact that most people could probably only name one Mary Kiani song. For years I thought of Mary as a one "hit" wonder (I'm not sure if "I Believe" actually charted) and a (pleasant) throwback to the 1990s. Well, the egg was well and truly on my face when I purchased Mary's debut album, "Long Hard Funky Dreams", on Ebay a while ago and realised that I knew just about every song on the album! I simply had no idea who sang them.
Since seeing the light about Ms Kiani's obvious brilliance, I have followed her career more closely and have been lucky enough to see her perform several times at various clubs and at mardi gras this year. Mary is a true talent, with a big voice and bucket loads of charisma. I was most excited when Mary recently unleashed her long overdue follow up to "Long Hard Funky Dreams", charmingly called "The Sydney Sessions" in homage to her large Sydney fanbase. "The Sydney Sessions" is almost too good to be true - A club record with warmth and variety that combines new tracks with freshly remixed classics. This CD has barely left my stereo since purchasing it and I highly recommend it to any dance music fan. You can order the album here.
In a strange twist, Mary is now being looked after by the former manager of Melissa Tkautz - the subject of my very first post. Penny Clifford's fingers are all over this record, from the choice of producers to the marketing campaign. Obviously Melissa's loss is Mary's gain, as "The Sydney Sessions" is an absolute corker. Fans of Mary's latest album should also enjoy Melissa's "Lost & Found" and vice versa. The sound is quite similar and many of the same DJs were commissioned for remixes. Penny obviously has the midas touch when it comes to underground Sydney gay icons. Dannii Minogue should be beating down Penny's door, begging for representation!
Here is a selection of Mary tunes to wet your appetite for "The Sydney Sessions". I'm going to start with Mary's gay dancefloor classic "I Imagine", which also appears on the new album in several remixed forms. Wayne G, in particular, worked wonders on his remix.
If you like what you hear, please order the album and support this much underrated icon of fabulousness!