December 23, 2012
Alexander O’Neal returns to The Dakota to reprise his acclaimed Christmas show!
Soul man Alexander O’Neal established himself nearly 30 years ago as one of the greatest pure singers the genre had ever seen. With his new record, Five Questions… the New Journey, O’Neal proves he hasn’t lost a step, bringing fresh songwriting to his classic soul-funk sound. With a sweet, gritty voice and take-no-prisoners stage show, he has frequently been compared to Otis Redding, and his ties to the Minneapolis scene make him a local legend.
“…Mr. O’Neal is one of the great singers in pop, partially a latter-day soul singer but also something else, a singer who can produce ethereally pure notes that have no relationship to the soul tradition at all.” -Peter Watrous, New York Times
Born in Natchez, Mississippi, O’Neal spent his formative years touring in a rock cover band, honing his distinctive vocals. His touring brought him to Minneapolis, where he joined a band and production company called Flyte Time, led by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. After two years with the group, O’Neal went his own way, making room for a young singer named Morris Day to take over vocal duties.
With the help of Jam and Lewis, O’Neal launched his solo career in 1984 with his self-titled debut record. While the U.S. audience was slow to catch on, the record produced a Top 10 Hit in the U.K. O’Neal’s second record, Hearsay, is considered by many to be the finest recording Jam and Lewis ever produced. His singles “Fake” and “Criticize” achieved club anthem status, and he sold hundreds of thousands of records worldwide.
“Had it been 20 years earlier, Alexander O’Neal would have been compared to Otis Redding. As it was, he was dismissed by the cognoscenti but adored by the masses.” -BBC, review of “Hearsay”
The early 1990s saw the end of O’Neal’s relationship with Flyte Time studios, but not the end of sold out arenas and Gold Records. O’Neal’s unique vocal sound combined with his tremendous songwriting have resulted in music that stands the test of time, becoming hits not only for him but for artists who remix and sample his music.