July 11, 2006

Deep Obsession

By 2003, Deep Obsession had parted company with both their founding producer and songwriting partner Christopher Banks, original member Vanessa Kelly, and record label Universal Music.

What a way to start this post.

I enjoyed their music, and saw them perform live at nightclubs to school events. Zara and Vanessa were a breath of fresh air to NZ's mostly rock based history. Their high-energy dance tracks fitted their modern club-chick image, and got them noticed by NZ radio quite quickly in the late 90s, thanks to the help of Kim Adamson at Auckland's More FM (its was very different to what it is today), gaining airplay nationwide on More FM and the ZM network. Most of the local HOT AC stations back then like KCC, Energy FM, Coastline FM, 4XO played their singles as well.

They had great success in New Zealand. "Lost In Love" was their first single in 1998 - a cover of the classic Air Supply song (from 1980), and upon first hearing it, I thought it was an international artist. It went #1 and was a great surprise to many as they were the first unsigned New Zealand group to receive widespread commercial radio airplay, let alone a numebr one single. They quickly became the first NZ group to sign with Universal Music. I would say 1999-2000 would have been the busiest time for Deep Obsession. Singles 2+3 came out in 1999. "Cold" and "One And Only". They both went to #1. Based on feedback I had through More FM while I worked there, I think most of New Zealand loved the songs, but had no idea they were two kiwi girls, nor did they know anything about original third member Christopher Banks who had left after the first single.

Then came the support singles "You Got The Feeling" in 2000 and "I Surrender" in 2001. Three years of music from one album would have been tough to promote, had they not released remixes of the singles to keep them fresh. If you find a copy of their platinum debut album "Infinity", all singles are different to the album versions except "Lost In Love" which is only longer in length. The singles were remixed for the UK and US radio markets. They do this, because production techniques change all the time. If a 1998 version of a song was released in 2002, it would sound dated. The remixes in my opinion are far superior to the album versions and I believe this was not only a wise move by the girls and their record company at the time, it also kept their music fresh without compromising their very "grown up" lyrics. That's one thing I really enjoyed about Deep Obsessions music. Zara Clarke's songwriting was awesome. Subject matter relates to a mid-30s woman, not a pubescent teenager, however their image and energy effectively kept them "cool" with the kids.

I was not keen on the new "DeepObsession" from 2002 onward. Apparently the record company did the nasty on them, Vanessa bit the bullet and left to release her own awesome single "Moving". Why did no-one pick THAT up? I will have a copy of that for you soon, in a separate post. Anyway, this left Zara bound to the contract with Universal, so she brought in Charlie, and opted to modify Deep Obsessions sound toward a more 'mature sound', also making their name one word "DeepObsession". Hence they've vanished into a chapter of NZ music history, likely never to be seen again.

I worked with their short-term manager around 2001 and assisted with four new demos for their 2nd album. I even spent my own time remixing one of the demos to "pop single" standard, as a xmas present which never got to Zara somehow. (It even had a guitar solo by Satellite Spies guitarist Deane Sutherland).

I hold hope for Zara and Vanessa to continue with what they respectively do best. Zara has an amazing voice, and can pen great lyrics. I believe Vanessa to be very savvy and an exceptional performer. Wikipedia reports Vanessa has moved into a jazz vein with her music and will be recording a jazz album in England in August. Kewl!

Deep Obsession - Lost In Love (Radio Edit) ogg/2.1Mb/1998
Deep Obsession - Cold (Radio Version) ogg/1.8Mb/1999
Deep Obsession - One & Only (UK Radio Edit) ogg/1.6Mb/1999
Deep Obsession - You Got The Feeling (UK Radio Edit) ogg/1.4Mb/2000
Deep Obsession - I Surrender (U.S Mix) ogg/1.3Mb/2001
DeepObsession - Miracles ogg/1.6Mb/2002

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