Passion motivates. It drives people to persevere. And passion makes great music. Case in point: the upcoming EP, Way Down Deep from Chicago funk, soul, and R&B group Bumpus. The new EP will drop on April 6th and will be celebrated with a hometown release show at Martyrs’.
The Bumpus name has spawned a musical family, steeped in Chicago’s thriving music culture. Its hard-working current and former members contribute wholeheartedly to offshoots spanning the musical spectrum. Bandleader James Johnston was aiming to do just that by writing songs for a groove-friendly project titled Dance Floor Plans until his plans got derailed by a serious case of vocal cord polyps. Not to be sidelined from his passion, James rerouted his energy. He set his mind on bringing a new perspective into the mix.
The earthquake-adaptable foundation laid by Johnston and the rest of the band served as the perfect platform for a new star to emerge, and that star is Tina M. Howell. Ms. Howell’s lyrical substance and powerhouse vocals have become the clear focal point of Way Down Deep, reinvigorating Bumpus along the way. From the EP’s opener “Already Mine,” a stalker-themed retro funk burner, to the soul-searching “Anything,” Way Down Deep marks a bold new direction for the band expressed through heavy doses of Ms. Howell’s unfiltered personality.
Today Glide is excited to premiere one of the album’s most powerful tracks, “Keep Standing Up”. Coming right out of the gate with a chilled out drumbeat and a wall of brass, Howell’s vocals stay front and center as she harmonizes with her band. Speaking of the band, these musicians exude effortless cool as they push the groove relentlessly forward. Together with with Howell’s honeyed yet forceful vocals, the tune swirls around jazz, R&B, and biting soul into a potent musical cocktail that fires on all cylinders. The song also has a powerful message that speaks directly to these difficult times we live in, giving you the listener a sense that it’s worth keeping up the fight for justice and happiness.
Reflecting on how the song came to fruition, Howell has this to say:
The song “Keep Standing Up” was written at a very trying time in my life. Even though i was at a very low point and ready to give up on everything it started as a way to subconsciously tell myself to stay the course. But instead of overtly making it about me it turned into an ode to people and the various trials and tribulations that one goes through everyday especially people trying to follow a dream or attain a goal. I just wanted to let people know that they were not alone and no matter what someone thinks or says about you or how many obstacles that may be in the way that if you “keep your eyes on the prize” and stay focused on the goal at hand that you can make it.