Rising modern powerhouse blues vocalist/keyboardist Eliza Neals is nominated in three categories for the Independent Blues Awards 2023, which are “Best Female Artist,” “Best Blues Rock Song” (Queen of the Nile), and “Best Blues Rock Album” (Badder To The Bone). Please cast your votes for Eliza now through September 15 at https://www.makingascene.org/independent-blues-awards-2023-vote-now/.
In other news, Neals is prominently featured in the forthcoming film “We Thrive,” about “Armenian-American musicians and the healing powers of music,” explains Co-Executive Producer Eric Harabadian. The film has its World Premiere June 24 at Art House Productions in Jersey City, as part of the Golden Door Film Festival. Neals was also featured in Harabadian’s 2016 film, Nuthin’ But Music. Harabadian’s Co-Executive Producer in both films is Lisa Hagopain.
Standing before one of America’s truest art forms with an unconditional passion to give the Blues everything she’s got, Eliza Neals — a Detroit- born, blues-rock star on the rise — honors the gut-wrenching, soul splitting intent the American roots of contemporary blues represents with inspired songwriting and critically-lauded live performances.
Neal’s original compositions helped win her a 2018 Detroit Black Music Award for “Blues Artist of the Year” and she’s won a Detroit Music Award five different times. Eliza has garnered seventeen Independent Blues Awards nominations along with “Get Ready To Rock UK’s” Best Artists awards in five categories.
Neal’s latest single, “Candy Store” (released this past February), follows in the footsteps of Ruth Brown, Koko Taylor and Etta James. After catching the ‘Pawn Shop Blues,” a “Sugar Daddy” strolled into town but now there’s not enough honey to save him. This tongue-n-cheek gem takes ‘playing the dozens’ to new heights. “Candy Store” will make you laugh until your sweet tooth falls out.
“Eliza Neals spins her lyrics into luscious ear candy, in her early years of performing at clubs in Detroit and hanging with Barrett Strong is where her sweet style was honed,” writes Indie Pulse Music in a recent review. ‘Candy Store will make you laugh until your sweet tooth falls out.”
Eliza’s history of performing and/or opening for legendary musicians goes back many years, from Detroit’s songwriting godfather, Barrett Strong; to, among others, George Clinton, The Four Tops, Kenny Olson, Tony Joe White, Lance Lopez, Mike Zito, Tommy Castro, Walter Trout, Poppa Chubby, Albert Castiglia, Micki Free, Victor Wainwright, King Solomon Hicks, Peter Keys and Blues Foundation Hall of Fame bluesman, Joe Louis Walker.
Neal’s full-length release album Black Crow Moan was named a ‘Top Album of 2020’ after landing on so many ‘Best Of’ lists. B.B. Kings Bluesville (Sirius XM) has featured sixteen of Eliza Neals in regular rotation since she released her incendiary album Breaking and Entering, quickly thrusting her onto the national blues scene. Her soulful blues ballad ‘Another Lifetime’ reached #6 on Bluesville’s Rack of Blues, while Black Crow Moan reached #9 on ROB. ‘Sugar Daddy,’ released in 2021 reached #5 and remained on ROB for twelve weeks, finishing #12 in the Top Fifteen Blues Songs of 2021 on ROB year-end list. “Queen of the Nile”, Eliza’s latest ballad from her critically-acclaimed 2022 album Badder to the Bone, is currently in heavy rotation and reached #5 on ROB. Eliza’s albums have ascended to the Billboard Top #25; she’s also had five singles and albums in the top five spots on Amazon and ITunes for over three months.
Neals — bandleader, songwriter, vocalist, keyboardist, producer, and record label owner — has had a cadre of amazing musicians back her up over the years. “The best in the business” is what people say, with Neal bringing an all-star line-up wherever she performs. Audiences are thrilled with her band and plethora of special guests.
Exciting, intoxicating and jam-packed with sultry powerful vocals, spirited moves, and soulful piano playing while leading her stellar band and never missing a beat. Phil Ohlinger, President of the Ohio “Big Bend Blues Bash” who booked Eliza, said, “in seventeen years we have had some great women vocalists perform, but not one has outperformed Eliza. I think we have a new crowd favorite!”
Eliza Neals started out singing and performing with her sisters and eventually was told, “you have to get a degree to live under this roof.” Eliza chose opera studies, graduating from Detroit’s Wayne State University (WSU) with a Bachelor of Arts degree and Minor in piano. Touring and performing with the WSU Concert Chorale in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Belgium and UK’s Glastonbury as a Mezzo Soprano Opera singer was thrilling, but eventually the blues chose Eliza (and vice versa).
Back in Detroit, Neals sat in and performed at live music venues like Floods, Old Detroit, Burt’s Warehouse, The Rhinoceros, Soup Kitchen, Bakers Keyboard Lounge and more, honing her voice, signature style and piano chops. A chance meeting with Motown Legend Barrett Strong Jr. led to Eliza signing with his record label, where she learned to produce and arrange (vocals to strings) in his multi-million-dollar studio. Eliza and Barrett became good friends; he showed her the many hidden secrets of a Motown-trained singer, songwriter and performer. Soul legends Marvin Gaye and Gladys Knight were previous artists Barrett Strong had produced, making Eliza Neals the last Motown-trained R&B vocalist from Detroit, and landing her in some very special company.
Neals relocated to Jersey City, New Jersey from Detroit to be closer to the East Coast’s big-city blues scenes.
Shows and Tour Dates
July 23 (Sun) – Portsmouth NH@Jimmy’s Jazz & Blues Club
August 4 (Fri) – Port Sanilac MI@Port Sanilac Blues Festival
August 5 (Sat) – Pomeroy OH@Big Bend Blues Bash
August 26 (Sat) – Long Branch NJ@Long Branch Jazz & Blues Festival
Dec 1 (Fri) – Bradenton FL@Bradenton Blues Festival
Dec 7 (Thur) – Brunswick GA@The Blue Door
Dec 8 (Fri) – Ormond Beach FL@Blues & Brews Bistro
Dec 15 (Fri) – Biloxi MS@Ground Zero Blues Club
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