2012 has been Helena Jesele's breakthrough year, the buzz surrounding the release of Sweet Sticky Fix has put her firmly on the radar of the music press and there are already whispers of a Mercury Music prize nomination in 2013. It's a true album in the classic sense, one conceived, written and recorded as a complete body of work, to be enjoyed as a whole.
Releasing her debut album is a landmark for Helena; the 6 foot tall Dublin urban soul-jazz singer, whose sultry voice evokes images of smoke-filled Jazz clubs and times gone by. Performing countless gigs singing the Great American Songbook at London Jazz haunts such as Ronnie Scott's and The Pigalle Club, led her to work with Brooklyn based record label and production team Truth & Soul, whose distinctive sound contributed to the mammoth success of Adele's 19 album, and took Aloe Blacc to mainstream success. Their soulful, gritty Brooklyn sound also lent itself to the remixing of Amy Winehouse's Love is a Losing Game.
Comparisons with Amy Winehouse are understandable, as 'super producer' Paul O'Duffy, who co-wrote Wake up Alone, also produced five of the tracks on Sweet Sticky Fix.
The entire album was recorded in analogue. Half was produced using a string quintet and live brass at the sound stage, Pinewood studios, London. The other half in Brooklyn, New York, using musicians best known for playing with the Black Keys. As such, Sweet Sticky Fix is a body of work that Helena is incredibly proud of.
Despite the trend for music fans to now download their favourite tracks as opposed to a whole album - Sweet Sticky Fix has been recorded as a concept album, a piece of music that can be listened to in one sitting in the same vein as albums like A Grand Don't Come for Free by The Streets or Portishead's Dummy. Possibly the ebb and flow of Stevie Wonder's classic 'Innervisions' is a truer comparison to the way the album has been crafted.
Following the release of singles Let The Game Begin and last summer's feel good track Sun Is Rising to critical acclaim, there's a fair amount of expectation surrounding 'Sweet Sticky Fix'. Publications including Metro, Blues and Soul, The Daily Telegraph, Monocle and BBC Radio 2 have had nothing but good things to say about the Dublin girl whose smoky vocals and jazz influenced sound looks set to blow up next year.......watch this space!
Take a look back at October's inaugural event.
The film is expected to continue without Mendes' involvement.